We live in interesting times, they say, especially if you’re a pub landlord. As luck would have it, the Pub Landlord has returned to the fray to mull the topics of the day, with two south Wales dates on a big UK tour, Gig For Victory. Carl Marsh spoke to him, or technically his real-life incarnation Al Murray.
If ever there was a time for the Pub Landlord to be out and about to entertain us all, it would be right now. And he’s no doubt got a plethora of ammunition to shout about from the last two years. It must be like an Aladdin’s cave of comedy gems for you, right?
Al Murray: The thing is, there’s so much all happening at once! Sometimes you think, should I talk about – for instance – the fuel prices last week, or the week before, whenever it was. And it’s still going on. Right? Because at the moment, everything’s one thing and then another! You don’t know which one to go with. There’s so much to choose from, and then you think about stuff you’ve forgotten about.
Because everything’s happening at such a tumble, I have a feeling that in three weeks, people will have forgotten all about the fuel cost crisis, somehow – because there will have been 10 things since!
With the Pub Landlord character using so many current events in a set, it must be hard for you to sift through what to choose, when it might be not relevant a week later. It’s not a headache I’d want!
Al Murray: It’s better to have lots of stuff to talk about than not. And what’s really interesting is that the pandemic is different from so many other subjects which come up – because it’s happened to everybody. Obviously, everyone’s had different experiences of it, but if you talk about, say “Hands. Face. Space”, everyone knows what you mean. It’s not like Brexit was, where people were interested or not interested according to different degrees and different aspects of it – like, “what is the single market?”, you know?
How has the Pub Landlord have fared over the last couple of years, what with pubs having been hit especially hard?
Al Murray: Oh, he’s been locked in a beer cellar, living on crisps, nuts and pork scratchings! He misunderstood it all – he thought it was a call for the nation to go into a lock-in rather than a lockdown! So he had a rough couple of months to start with.
But it has been challenging. The pubs I drink in, locally to me, that I really like – they’ve had a tough time. Some have boxed clever, whilst some of them have not been able to, and they’ve had a real problem keeping their heads above water. But, you know, I think for a significant period of it the problem was that they were kind of last in the government’s list of things to deal with. And I understand that creating such a thing as the furlough scheme is an enormous job. I get that.
But by the same token, pubs are part of the spine of the country, and without them… when they’d had a few tough years anyway, what you don’t want is to make that worse. Anyway, I did my best during the pandemic when they were places to drink! [Laughs]
Lastly, if you were asked to provide a message from the Pub Landlord to his Welsh fans ahead of this tour, what would it be?
Al Murray: Oh, come on and get your common-sense solution to everyday problems! As simple as that! And find out who’s behind the pandemic. [Laughter]
words CARL MARSH
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