PREVIOUSLY, ON FAB FOOLS: 1 – 2 – 3 – 45 !?

Gather round, all you clowns, having been over a decade in preparation, a splendid time is guaranteed for all…!

It’s been a long, long, long time. Yes, it may only be a year and a half since Fab Fools was unleashed upon this realm, and over a year since we marked the 60th anniversary of The Nerk Twins’ shows in Caversham with our virtual book launch, and six months since brave pre-orderers received their copies, but as of today, the “Last Ever Untold Beatles Story”™ is finally available both online, and as an ebook, and in independent and particularly good bookshops throughout the English speaking world*…


But for me it has been a campaign for more than a decade, to fill this particularly astonishing gap on the Beatle bookshelves – and you’d have to be carved out of pure muck not to weep, were this blog to detail even half the agonies of making the book a reality. The acknowledgements are in the book, but it’s thanks to Candy Jar Books, and Kevin Eldon, and my highly significant other Denise Hoelandt, that I have survived the odyssey.

A few lovely reviews and articles have started to pop up – check Twitplace and Facearse for further radio interviews and updates – and I notice I haven’t yet had the gall to trumpet the podcast appearances which marked last autumn’s pre-order release – Beatles Books with Joe, and being joined by our eminent patron Kevin Eldon, chatting with Robin & Jack of Personal Beatles, a huge pleasure. Coming up are further radio spots, including playing Midnight Mastermind with OJ Borg on Radio 2 – yes, it’s the mumblin’-around-midnight slot, but still my first ever bit of puff on the nation’s biggest station. It’s never All Too Much though – if you can think of anywhere to spread a little Fab Fools sunlight, in any media, do get in touch!

They even gave me a mug, y’know!

I’ve shared bookish platforms with Terry Jones, Clive Anderson, Peter Richardson, Arthur Smith, Helen Lederer, Barry Cryer and Neil Innes, but I never believed I’d get to do so with the actual Rod Hull. Sorry, George Martin. And, as if anyone was ever in any doubt at all, The Artist Formerly Known As Quinlank has also kindly offered to record his beautiful preface (which, collectors may note, he requested to entirely redraft for the new edition) for a very weedy fee, ready for when the time comes to release an Audible version of Fab Fools. I’ll be reading the book myself (as I currently am in Brother Bernard form for Tales of Britain), and yes, although I am no Peter Serafinowicz (we definitely can’t afford him), it would be insane not to at least attempt to somehow convey the spirits of the many voices contained within the book. Which is a windy way of saying, I’ll be doing my really bad Beatle impersonations. Who knows though, perhaps Kevin may reprise his Sir George for us…

But I know he’s doing it for the same reason I’ve done all this from top to bottom: not just for inherent worship of the Fab Four, but to honour the extraordinary life and talent of our friend, Neil Innes. So frankly, I don’t blame him.

So take this book, brother, and may it serve you well. Please try to be kind to it, after the long journey from laughing in the pub with Joe McGrath to finally plugging that pesky gap on the bookshelves reaches its conclusion. The Fab Fools pages on social media will remain forever – anywhere the Beatley meets the funny, that’s the permanent place for it. But otherwise, I myself must return to recording the book in audio for later in the year, alongside Britain’s weirdest folktales, and try to see what’s on the horizon asdan author. From ISIHAC to Blackadder to Douglas Adams to Fry & Laurie to The Beatles… where now?

Well, I will admit to starting a new folder, in connection to without question one of my very dearest and deepest comedy obsessions… But, to overshare for one moment, between getting married, starting a mortgage out in the sticks (thankfully, my bacon has been preserved throughout the pandemic and beyond by a regular gig with my old company, Future Publishing, on classic US rock mags Guitar World, Guitar Player and Electronic Musician), plus the novel (Yes, I’m so terribly sorry) which has been growing for nearly a year now, which is not unconnected to this other book idea… in not-short-enough, my sixth work of comedy history may be a lot longer in the gestation than many of my previous offerings.

And so, dear friends, you’ll just have to carry on… Being fab. And regularly foolish.

Peas & laffs.

Born a poor young country boy…
  • Some poor bookshop owners may have missed the press release. Do pop into your nearest one and say “How about two dozen copies of Fab Fools, then?”

6 thoughts on “FAB FOOLS 6: Many Years From Now…

  1. Jem! Will there be a Kindle edition? I found it on Amazon, but it turns out to be a PDF that my Kindle DOES NOT LIKE. *sad face*

    1. Sorry not to have responded until now, James, moving house/life melodrama! But I’m sure the Kindle link is sorted by now, so it’s futile of me to have bothered you in response. Peace and love and all that!

  2. Hi Jem
    loving the Beatle/Rutles book. One odd fact for you – as I have been gathering an ‘incomplete’ Beatles collection of vinyl primarily (but loads of other things and pieces) I came across a card from a Subafilms ‘Yellow Submarine’ collection, number 14, which informs us that on the 26th May 1966 George Martin was ill and sent the missus, Judy, to produce the recording. This probably explains why it went so far over the top!
    Also, as a by and by, I had a band, The Sex Beatles, based mainly in Mallorca 78-82, that was joined by Rutles guitarist Ollie Halsall for the summer of 81 where we produced a single of protest against military intrusion into political life. ‘Al Suelo…’. It never got past the music business censors despite garnering healthy critique and being highly danceable! Nearly 25 years later, I set up microphones and speakers at Roger McGough’s request and, with a very threadbare audience of a couple of tourists and a few Spanish locals (none had an idea of who or what was involved), proceeded to accompany Neil Innes and John Halsey plus Roger, the wives and three of us ‘locals’, including local artist and Goon impersonator, singer with the Pa Amb Oli Band (made famous in Tomas Graves’ book ‘Tuning Up At Dawn’) on a musical journey through the Rutles’ catalogue and Beatle covers on a ukele. This also featured Roger singing for the first time in over 50 years ‘Lily The Pink’ and a drum solo with a newspaper by John Halsey (ask him to show you). This was the hitherto unimagined meeting of the Sex Beatles and The Rutles, honouring Ollie Halsall as member of both bands and celebrating the music we all loved

    1. Hamish, this may well be my favourite comment ever on any blog. Thanks so much for sharing all that. I’d like to share it further on Fab Fools portals, if that’s okay?

      What an evening that sounds. What a memory to have. Lucky man!

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