Bill Bailey on Lockdown, Strictly Come Dancing & His Last Tour


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The past year and a half has been a strange one. We all know that. We have all said it, perhaps a little too often. The blockages put everyone in a strange state of paralysis, leaving us desperate to find a way through the boredom. Some of us have relied on Netflix, some of us (probably too many of us, in truth) have dabbled in baking banana bread. But when you’re one of the best comedians in the country, you’ve got to focus on something a little more productive.

Take Bill Bailey, the national treasure and ubiquitous in British comedy, who spent much of the lockdown reassembling himself On the way to normal, his hilarious new show that will tour everywhere from Plymouth to Glasgow and, most importantly, the glorious city of Nottingham. “There was a lot of music and new songs I wrote in response to being locked in my shed for months,” Bill laughs. “I have thought a lot about other times when there was such a monumental moment in the history of mankind. I was wondering if I really wanted to talk too much about the pandemic, but it’s such a big topic that it would be strange not to acknowledge it. Ultimately, however, I use it more as a springboard to talk about a lot of other things, like “What’s normal?” What does it mean? Do you really want this? ‘”

Although Bill came out of lockdown with a tour of the arena, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Like the rest of us, he found the vast periods of the past eighteen months “really difficult” as normalcy stopped and we were all forced to keep our distance. “It was so hard for everyone. It was such a surreal situation. Some days felt like they were going to go on and on, and other times you blink and three days have passed, ”he says. “It was very strange. Sometimes I had a hard time being creative.

Watched a lot of these shows that grab the nation and capture people’s imaginations, and then suddenly I’m in the middle of it

As was often the case throughout his life, the wildlife enthusiast turned to nature for comfort when the going got tough. Bill talks about the “tremendous amount of comfort” he gets from being outdoors, walking around and listening to the birds for some much needed quiet time. This has become increasingly important with the rise of technology, he adds, believing that the great outdoors can help combat “the low pressure and anxiety of being in constant contact” that many people have. ‘between us feel. “It’s a great relief from all of this,” he says.

Yet the 56-year-old also tried something slightly different towards the end of last year – participating and, of course, ultimately becoming the champion of the hit BBC show. Come dance strictly. As each week passed and Bill married viewers with everything from Charleston to quickstep, the unlikely star quickly won over audiences, helping deliver a series of happy moments as he marched to victory. “It’s very strange when you find yourself in the center of something like that,” Bill mused, making sense. that he has not yet fully penetrated. “I’ve watched a lot of these shows that grab the nation and capture people’s imaginations, and then suddenly I’m in the middle of it all.

“Sometimes it was very difficult to gauge the reaction of people because we didn’t see anyone and we didn’t meet anyone,” he continues. “Normally you can go out to the store or to the restaurant and people will come to you and tell you what they think. But because we were in the middle of this containment and we were in a bubble, it was like we were almost on another planet for a while. Social media was the way we could tell we were really boosting the morale of the country which was amazing and I slowly started to find out I could dance!

This show is more reflective than a lot of my other stuff. It’s much more introspective

With the restrictions now lifted and the country feeling like it’s – you guessed it – on its way to normal, Bill returns to more familiar territory by swapping the dance floor for the stage. The old one Don’t mind the buzzcocks regular will bring his tour, which has been described as “hilarious” and “must see”, to Motorpoint Arena just before Christmas and, of course, he can’t wait to return to the East Midlands.

“It’s a place I’ve spent a lot of time over the years,” Bill says – and he’s not lying. In the late 1980s, while still in a double act with Toby Longworth, he was performing at the Nottingham Trent Students’ Union and making the most of the town’s pubs after every gig. Since then he has rocked Just the Tonic numerous times and regularly visits friends and family in the area. Decades after making audiences smile for the first time in Nottingham, he still feels a strong connection to our hometown.

If you step into the arena to watch this legend in action, you can expect the same witty humor and unique creativity that has made Bill such a popular figure over the years – but with a little bit of twist this time around. “This show is more reflective than a lot of my other stuff,” he explains. “In the previous shows, I was able to use my experiences of traveling around the world and seeing new things and new places, but of course that was not possible. So it’s much more introspective. »Funny musical numbers, scathing jokes and a thoughtful exploration of the meaning of life? Sign us up.

Bill Bailey’s En Route To Normal tour stops at Motorpoint Arena on Thursday, December 23. Tickets and dates can be found at billbailey.co.uk.

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