Noel Fielding is setting out of his first solo tour in five years. He shares strange and funny stories with CHARLES HUTCHINSON.
YORK holds a special place in Noel Fielding’s affections.
“You know what, when we did our first tour, York was the very first date,” says the non-Yorkshire half of the surrealist duo The Mighty Boosh, who returns to the city next Thursday on his first solo tour in five years.
Goodbye to Leeds-born partner-in-comedy Julian Barrett – hello to An Evening With Noel Fielding at York Barbican and elsewhere.
“You’ve got to cut away from the deadwood sometimes,” teases Noel.
“Julian is busy writing a film script with a friend of ours, Simon Farnaby, from The Mighty Boosh and The Horrible Histories, and we still call each other a lot.”
Adapting to life outside the duo has challenged them both.
“It’s quite frightening actually without Julian,” says the 41-year-old Londoner. “He did some gigs recently too and he said he kept looking to the left for me.”
The Mighty Boosh “took up our time, but in a good way”, leaving Noel with few opportunities to stretch his comedic legs elsewhere on stage, aside from solo dates in Montreal, Melbourne and Sydney, before branching out into his kaleidoscopic character comedy show, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy.
He broke in his new live show gradually.
“I’ve been doing a lot of 20-minute spots since March and six warm-up shows in Archway,” he says. “The show now starts off as stand-up and then becomes more theatrical with characters and scenes and animation.”
Live animation, it says in the brochure.
“Well, you can’t have live animation but we are trying to find a way to interact with the animation and the audience,” says Noel.
“What I like is to have these little open pockets where it all could go really wrong, especially in the second half when there’s a sort of story.”
What sort of story, Noel? “Big! Like Dostoevsky! Dickens!”
After Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy included music by Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno, the live show will do too.
“I’ve been writing with Sergio,” says Noel, who could pass as Sergio’s older brother and has become a godparent to one of his children.
“We swap hair and I rent it out to him. In fact we both have skinheads and can never be seen out at the same time.
“He’s someone I just bumped into and got on really well with when I went to see The Rolling Stones and we became really good friends. We formed a band called Loose Tapestries, who were signed by Sony, so we’ve got an album on iTunes [Loose Tapestries Presents The Luxury Comedy Tapes] – a sort of ridiculous record that sounds like The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band... or a unicorn singing a Barrie White song.”
Loose Tapestries have a Christmas number on the way, destined for the second series of Luxury Comedy, and who knows, maybe the Christmas charts.
“Because it’s not too serious, we keep coming up with stuff like a Christmas song with Idris Elba rapping on it,” says the aptly named Noel. “It’s called Can’t Wait For Christmas To Come – it’s quite Sladey, but also it goes from Morrissey to Michael Jackson to hip-hop to The Beatles in one go. I think it’s going to be big, the alternative to the X Factor single.”
His challenge was to “tick all the boxes”.
“I’ve got people who like me from The Mighty Boosh; Never Mind The Buzzcocks [he’s now back as a team captain on BBC2]; QI and Luxury Comedy, and I thought, How do I include all of those in one show?,” says Noel. “So that’s why there’ll be a bit of a story, music, animation, stand-up and some of my TV characters.”
• An Evening With Noel Fielding, York Barbican, Thursday, October 30, 8pm; supported by the loose stylings of Mike Fielding and the physical lunacy of Tom Meeten. Tickets update: still available on 0844 854 2757 or at yorkbarbican.co.uk “Bring your Nan, fancy dress optional,” says Noel.