I’ve climbed all the way up to the Edinburgh Fringe many times, but until now I’ve always taken the easy path. Mostly I’ve been led by the sherpas of BBC Radio 4 as we’ve arrived in town to record the likes of Dead Ringers or The Now Show in a great big sold-out venue. But this year, like Edmund Hilary wandering away from Tensing Norgay to go for a wee, I’m striking out on my own.
My show, Rock Star Babylon, is at the Gilded Balloon and in it I'm complaining that rock bands these days are rubbish. I don’t necessarily mean musically, although Kasabian can be a bit dull and I’d rather put one of Khan’s brain worms from Star Trek II into my ear than listen to the whole of that last Coldplay album. No, modern rock stars are just a bit rubbish at playing at being rock stars. Famously, in the 1970s when Led Zeppelin stayed in LA, they rode motorbikes up and down the corridors of the West Hyatt Hollywood on Sunset Strip.
In researching my show, a manager for Billie Piper and 5ive told me that, when were on the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party Tour of 2000, the best they could do was have a pillow fight in a Travelodge just off the A12. Like I said: rubbish.
So why not come along to find out all about Motley Crue’s self-imposed personal hygiene strike or just what Faith No More lead singer Mike Patton would do with a hotel room hairdryer, adventures way more inventive than anything this sorry lot could do these days. Rock 'n' roll and rumour go together like Peaches and Geldof, and I’m reading from my book (Rock Star Babylon, Penguin) re-telling some of the classics with added sarcasm, regaling audiences with some of the most excessive tales and shocking them with something that a drunk roadie once told me about Celine Dion.
I like to think it’s a clarion call to the bands of today to get their act together, to stop worrying about saving starving Africans and instead to gaffer tape one of them to a TV and chuck them both out of a window. In short, I want my rock stars to rock.
I’m not totally alone in the show – Stephen Fry kindly pops up as the voice of the book throughout and, of course, there's always you, dear reader, coming along to see the only Fringe show that contains more filth, more fury and more potentially libelous stories that may yet see me in prison, than have ever been said out loud in public before.
I cordially invite you to join me and Mr Fry as we open up a Pandora’s musical box of bad rock star behaviour and jump head first into the mess.
At this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Rock Star Babylon is at the Gilded Balloon Teviot, 17-30 August at 7pm.
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