Comedian and QPR fan Bill Bailey tells skysports.com about pies and disappointment at Bath FC
By Peter Fraser. Last Updated: December 10, 2010 5:09pm
Bailey: Dubbed 'Norman'
Noticing the uninspiring features of Wayne Rooney's face and comparing the England national team to 'ageing warehousemen' provides perfect examples of the perception that Bill Bailey is able to apply to the conundrum of football.
The above are just a couple of relevant citations from the comedian's excellent new live show, Dandelion Mind, which is now available on DVD and contains the standup's characteristically obscure, yet brilliant, humour.
Bailey, who also demonstrates in his act that he is an extremely talented musician, is known for his sharp observational jesting, but a lesser-famed fact is that he is a long-standing fan of Queens Park Rangers.
Having fallen in love with Loftus Road after moving to London in his teens, the West Countryman also has plenty of other tales to tell from his footballing past and skysports.com was happy to lend an ear.
Basically, when I first came to London I lived in Queens Park. Well, I didn't actually live in the park. That would imply I'm some sort of hermit or wild man. I wasn't actually in the bushes, I was in a house. I had a sentimental attachment with Queens Park, with it being my first experience of London, so I was aware of the place. I ended up in Hammersmith, which is walking distance to the ground, and so I ended up going to a few games. I like the fact that it is a small ground, you are right on top of the pitch and it is right in the middle of a housing area. It felt like what football is meant to be all about. I grew up in the West Country and when I was six my team was actually Leeds because all the kids supported Leeds. They were the top team in the land and they were the bad boys. I had a Leeds bag. It was a white shoulder bag with 'Leeds' on it. I had never been to Leeds, I didn't know anything about the place, I didn't know where it was. But when you are six, you think, 'oh, Billy Bremner, he's good' or 'Norman Hunter, he bites your legs'. There was no allegiance other than that.
Neil Warnock at present, Ian Holloway in the past, what attracts opinionated managers to Loftus Road?
We seem to have had a couple of real firecrackers. It's the law of averages, we've had so many managers we were bound to have a couple of good ones eventually. We're owed it. It got ridiculous. It was almost as if we would have one manager until half-time, he would get sacked and then we would have a new manager for the second half.
I grew up in the area. My uncle took me to see Bath FC against... I can't even remember who it was against, but the game was pretty scrappy and we were standing on crumbling terraces and eating pies. There was a sense of disappointment in the air. That was my first experience of football... pies and disappointment, that sums up football.
He was who kids would talk about in the playground. When you were having a kick-about, everyone wanted to be him. At the moment, Adel Taarabt is an extraordinary player. Warnock compared him to a Matador the other weekend (laughing)... taming the charging bulls of Preston North End, I can see that. It is great in a way that we have a player like that in the Championship. He is like an old-fashioned player, a bit of skill and lashing in goals from 30 yards. That is what football should be about and he should be allowed to play like that. It is great entertainment, it is great for the crowds and when it comes off it is a morale boost to teams. More of that, please.
Someone who just hacked people down. In the playground at school, whoever was the worst tackler was dubbed 'Norman'. I got that honour after a few clumsy challenges.
Bath were probably not the best of...um...err... teams, but I went to Bristol City and going to Ashton Gate was a big deal. After Bath, going to Ashton Gate was like going to a fantastic, magnificent ground. Seeing it full was extraordinary. Going back to Ashton Gate and playing a gig there (in June) was a fantastic moment for me.
Why didn't you support one of the Bristol clubs?
I don't know. The thing was, I left for London when I was 18 and realised I was going to be there for a while so I didn't really get back to the West Country that much. Football drifted for me a bit because I did a lot of travelling and was away from home a lot while I figured out what I wanted to do. I didn't have a place that I could call home, I travelled and worked abroad and so I didn't really connect with football until I moved to Hammersmith.
I didn't play for a club. We were just a bunch of Scruffy Herberts kicking around a park.
White T-shirt & biro
You would just get a white T-shirt and write Leeds on it in biro (laughing). I don't go in for replica shirts these days. My son loves playing football, but when I was in Ireland I got him a hurling kit, just to confuse the other kids! But then suddenly it was like he had the most exotic kit and everyone was going, 'wow, what's that?' They were all wearing Chelsea or Tottenham or whoever. The hurling kit is better in a way because he is not growing up to think, 'I have to wear this kit or I have to wear that kit'. I don't want to choose for him, he can do what he likes.
He is like a poet/standup and he plays the mandolin. He was like a punk-poet-come-mandolin player and I didn't know people like that were performing. It was a revelation and had a big impact on me. It was when I thought, 'I'd love to do that, that's what I want to do'. That was an inspiration for me.
Bill Bailey's Dandelion Mind is available to own now on DVD.