Bailey’s peddling qualms in Fife

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey

It’s been a couple of years since comedian Bill Bailey last played in Fife, but following a successful tour in New Zealand and Australia he’s delighted to get back on the road in the UK.

And once again the man with many strings to his bow - comedian, musician, actor, naturalist - returns to the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline this month.

He last played the venue in 2011 when he entertained audiences with his ‘Dandelion Mind’.

This time, he brings ‘Qualmpeddler’ to the Kingdom on Wednesday, May 8 and Thursday, May 9.

Bill took time out to speak to the Press recently after returning from a “fantastic” tour in Australasia.

And for him he said touring is not just about the gigs, it’s about so much more.

He explained: “I went all round Australia and New Zealand to different places, some I’ve not been to before.

“I went to a part of Tazmania I’d not been to.

“I’ve travelled there before, but this time I was able to go down to the south of the island.

“It was fantastic too.

“Based on all aspects of touring, I like to get a balance between working through shows, getting ideas and seeing the show developing as well as getting to see a place and do things.

“I try to be active during a tour.

“In Australia I saw a lot of wildlife and birds and I travelled and did stuff.

“I don’t like to just stay in the hotel.”

How do the countries compare for Bill, whose television series, ‘Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero’, is currently airing on the BBC ?

He said: “In Australia and New Zealand the comedy audiences there have become quite anglicised over the last few years.

“They really get British comedy.

“I really enjoy the show working itself in, incorporating stuff in about Australian politics and stuff going on there.

“I’m really looking forward to it [getting back on tour in the UK].

“Having the option to tour overseas gives the chance to iron out any issues.

“A lot of my references are very universal, but I’m looking forward to really getting stuck in to British politics.

“I did a little mini tour round Scotland and some of the outer islands before and that was terrific as well.”

And the funnyman is also looking forward to returning to Dunfermline.

“I loved the venue,” he said.

“We have got less and less of these old venues round the country.

“More are disappearing each year.

“Once they are gone they are gone forever.

“It’s great to be able to play these venues.”

Bill had his doubts about the modern world, but these have now grown into qualms.

And these are what he shall be ‘peddling’ in his show.

He will be chanelling these feelings of unease and apprehension with the help of religious dubstep, his folk bouzouki, horntallica, a re-appraisal of some of the world’s greatest works of art and perhaps a dub version of Downton Abbey.

He looks at the consequences of lies, the unending search for the Higgs and the hiding skills of dentists.

Bill tries to confront his cluster-qualm of living in a time of spectacular ignorance and rare planetary alignment.

As with his other live shows, Bill mixes all the elements you’d expect from one of his performances, including his trademark musical mash-ups, multi-lingual riffs, films, songs, philosophising and silliness on a grand scale.

But where did the comedian get his inspiration this time round?

“I have done a lot travelling in the last year,” he said, “and spent a month in China with family, that was a big influence.

“I’ve been fascinated by China for a long time now.

“It’s a country that’s prominent in global play.

“China’s impressive and dominant in the world, you can’t escape China in the news.

“I said I’d love to go there and experience it for myself - so we went.

“It threw up some fascinating experiences and stories that have ended up in the show.

“That’s partly the inspiration, but also I spent some time in America and travelling round the world.

“There are lots of those experiences and my attempts to understand popular culture.

“I try to watch and read everything being watched and read, that’s where my take on Downton Abbey comes in.

“It’s really like any show of mine and all the elements are there.”

Aside from his comedy, Bill’s known for his musical talents and his love for musical instruments.

I couldn’t let him off the phone without finding out more about the instruments.

Any favourites?

“I like a mixture of instruments,” he explains.

“I collect strange instruments from around the world.

“I have got a particular favourite at the moment.

“I picked up a three stringed Chinese banjo like instrument in China.

“It’s challenging.

“It’s devilishly hard to play but it’s got a pleasantly twangy sound, and I’m going to try and incorporate it into the tour.”