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Rik Mayall Delivers at Waterstones

Published on September 22nd 2005.

Some book signings come and go with a deft few swipes of a felt tip pen and a quick smile. “Move on” exclaim the panicking publicists, “Mr celebrity has to be in Birmingham by 2 o’clock so he won’t be able to smile or say anything”.

Some on the other hand are more friendly affairs, including the likes of Gazza for example. The Geordie madman had queues around the block in St Anns Square but this didn’t perturb the likeable ex-footballer from spending a few minutes with everyone and at the very least thanking them for standing in the rain for a few hours to buy his book.

The Rik Mayall signing was luckily in the latter category. The not as young as he used to be Young One, still had to be in Birmingham by 2 o’clock but any time his particular publicist panicked about the time, you got the impression that he’d threatened her with a full length spade around the head, or maybe setting her underpants on fire.

Mayall was there to promote his new book: Bigger Than Hitler, Better Than Christ, his autobiography proclaiming his anarchic 30 year war on show business.

Mayall covers everything in the book, his pant explosion onto the scene in the Young Ones, through to the New Statesman, Filthy Rich and Cat Flap and Bottom. Mayall tells all about his rise through the ranks, the inner truth behind his school days, his friendship with Adrian Edmondson and all about the drugs he definitely has not taken. Despite being one of Britain’s most explosive comedians on the screen and on stage, Mayall himself has remained pretty elusive, even a near death Ozzy Osbourne-esque fall from a quad bike skipped out of the headlines pretty quickly.

The usual queues were out in force for the book signing, what seemed to be a half an hour wait turned out to be a couple of hours, even with the security attempting to bunch us as close as possible so that we could get to know each other a bit better. At least we got to meet the people dressed up as Adrian Edmondson and those who were wearing Rik Mayall t-shirts.

You could hear Rik before you saw him, spouting off stories to all and sundry, a horde of photographers snapping him.

Despite getting a slating in his book (just about everyone and everything does!), Waterstones shipped over 200 of his books on the day, in another successful book signing event. Timed well with the return of the city’s students, this undoubtedly bumped up the numbers, although when big Faye and I were waiting, it dawned on us that seeing as though we went to see Bottom 3 in Sheffield in 1997, and judging by the number of people walking past asking who the hell Rik Mayall is, the amount of students who have actually heard of him must be quite thin.

Whilst finding this a remarkable feat, if there actually is anyone out there who hasn’t heard of one of Britain’s top comedians (anyone who calls his headmaster a “complete spasmo” has to be right up there) of the last 30 years can go and buy his book right now! Click here to buy the book.

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