What will Al Murray - The Pub Landlord - make of Dubai...
Is this going to be your first time holidaying abroad? Well yes, officially. I can’t tell you how difficult it has been to get a passport, seeing as I’ve officially died in four consecutive pub fires for insurance purposes. The last time I went abroad was on a tug-of-love snatch back to Paris. Long story (and a long drive in a transit).
Why did you decide to holiday in Dubai? Are you interested in learning more about Middle Eastern culture? Yes. I can’t wait to see the place. I have a sandpit under the swings in my beer garden and nothing grows in it, so I am very much looking forward to seeing the miracle in the sands.
Who’s looking after the pub while you’re gone? I have a top Australian relief manager who is going to hold the fort. So when I get back I expect the place will be full of backpackers helping themselves to the crisps past their use-by date.
What do you think about all the Brits who have left Britain to live here? It seems there are more Brits here than locals these days. Reverse colonisation, I call it. But if it’s good enough for Freddie Flintoff, it’s good enough for me. We reckon they’re here because you don’t have to pay taxes… I’m all in favour of income tax (though I don’t pay any, having died in four consecutive pub fires) because it was invented to pay for a war against the French – that can’t be a bad thing.
So are you going to open a pub out here? Not sure that’s allowed, mate.
Just as well – it’s expensive. And did you know it costs about six quid (Dhs35) for a pint here? Well, there is too much duty on pints in general. In the UK about 45 per cent of your pint is tax, which means you have to get nearly half way through your pint before you stop drinking for the government and start drinking for yourself. Sounds even worse in Dubai.
We hear you’re puzzled by bull fighting. You can watch bull butting near here, you know. Bull butting? What on Earth is that? Why would anyone pick a fight with a cow?
Good question. Now, we know you like your Britishness, but Dubai is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and is doing okay. This may be what the future looks like. What, in terms of a giant indoor ski slope that defies nature? I dunno, but what you have to remember about the British – and it’s one of the things that makes us world beaters – is that we’re ‘ish’, Brit-‘ish’. That’s where [BNP leader] Nick Griffin is going wrong.
Talking of Britain, how are things back there? Well, we have rain, flooding, debt, bankers, Iraq enquiry, swine flu… no wonder in the future historians will refer to the time we’re living in as The Brown Years.
It looks like New Labour is done for, doesn’t it? What can I say: all good things must come to an end… and New Labour.
Back to your holiday: What do you want to do while you’re here? See how long my body can cope with the heat and being plunged into air-conditioned buildings before I keel over.
We’re sure you’ll get used to it! Finally, going on holiday is like escaping to paradise. But what’s The Pub Landlord’s idea of paradise? Lager, bitter, stout, ales: mild, brown and pale, saloon doors and sticky floors, pub dogs and filthy bogs, Ploughman’s lunches, drinkers’ hunches, the occasional fight on a Friday night and a glass of white wine for the lady. Who wouldn’t want to escape to that? See The Pub Landlord on December 19 at Madinat Jumeirah Arena. Dhs250 for show starting at 9pm, or Dhs550 for a dinner package and show starting at 6.30pm. For tickets, call 800 4669 or see www.timeouttickets.com. For more information on the Comedy Club, visit www.comedyclubme.com
The Pub Landlord: A rough guide
Al Murray’s on-stage persona The Pub Landlord, who made his first appearance in 1994, is a stereotypical working-class Brit with a dislike for anything ‘un-British’. He particularly loathes the Germans and the French, and he loves ’70s rock band Queen. However, he refuses to be drawn on questions about Freddie Mercury’s personal life.
Here, we guide you through some of The Pub Landlord’s classic catchphrases, to give you an idea of what to expect from the show. • ‘All hail to the ale!’
• ‘(insert name here) ...beautiful British name!’
• ‘Pint for the fella, glass of white wine/fruit-based drink for the lady!’
• ‘Is your dad proud of you, son? He’s never said so, has he?’
• ‘If we had no rules, where would we be? France! And if we had too many rules, where would we be? Germany!’
Who is Al Murray?
Most people only know Al Murray as his Brit-ophile character. So who’s the real man behind The Landlord?
• Murray is the great-great-great-grandson of William Makepeace Thackeray, the novelist behind Vanity Fair.
• He started out with an act that included a range of sound-effect impressions. Particularly impressive was his ‘car boot’.
• Murray plays the drums and once performed a duet with Phil Collins on his TV show, Pub Landlord.
• He very nearly won Hell’s Kitchen, the celebrity reality TV cooking show fronted by chef Gordon Ramsay.
• He told our sister publication Time Out London that he and The Pub Landlord character have very little in common, ‘though we’re both puzzled by bull fighting’.