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Comedian Phill Jupitus now calls Scotland home despite first show north of the border being a nightmare

© Kim Cessford / DCT MediaPhill Jupitus turns to his home of Pittenweem for his comedy inspiration
Phill Jupitus turns to his home of Pittenweem for his comedy inspiration

Considering how bad his first Scottish gig was, it’s a surprise Phill Jupitus ever came back.

Yet, not only did he become a frequent visitor to the country, the comedian now calls Scotland home.

The former Never Mind The Buzzcocks panellist lives in Pittenweem, Fife, and his new tour, Sassy Knack, is all about his time living here.

But his first show north of the border was such a nightmare he ended the night by sobbing in the venue’s toilet.

It was 1985, when he was a poet rather than a stand-up, and he was supporting Billy Bragg.

The tour came to the legendary Barrowland Ballroom – not a bad way to mark your Scottish debut.

“There I was, a little English lad, telling the audience how they should be acting politically,” laughed Phill. “I died on my a***.

“I rushed through half an hour of material in 11 minutes.

“Five Mods ran to the front of the stage, heckling me, and tried to follow me off the stage afterwards.

“The gigs had all been brilliant until then, but I ended up in a toilet cubicle, crying. I’d never had a bad gig until that point.

“The poster from the gig is still on my wall, because I’m so proud to have played the Barrowland.”

Phill, originally from the Isle of Wight, came back the following year, this time opening for The Housemartins, and played Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.

The final date of his forthcoming tour is back in the City of Discovery.

“I’ll be opening the Dundee show with a poem I did there in the 1980s and I’d love to chat with anyone who was at that Housemartins gig.”

The amiable 56-year-old is a frequent performer at the Edinburgh Fringe, often doing multiple shows a year.

“I’ve found you can become stir crazy if you only do one show at the Fringe and end up with a whole day of anxiety,” he said.

“If you do three a day – well, if the first one is ropey you can quickly shake it off. The more I do at the Fringe, the more relaxed I am.

“The busiest I’ve ever been was five shows a day.”

When he was considering moving north, he had it mind he only wanted to live a half-hour on the train to Edinburgh.

Fife was ideal and he’s settled well in the East Neuk.

“There is a really good vibe and people here. I’m getting to know the arts community.

“Scotland is consistently slapping me in the face and I’ve fallen heavily in love with the place.

“With any Scottish city, you travel 10 minutes outside and you are in the middle of nowhere. I love it.”

Phill’s Sassy Knack tour came about by accident.

“There was no great planning,” he smiled.

“I was doing a previous Scottish tour and thought I would get the night started by telling a few stories about when I first came up.

“But I realised I was talking about Scotland for 40 minutes of the show. The upshot is I’ve ended up with 75 minutes of material about Scotland.”


Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack, Various venues, May 19-31

Phill’s 12-date tour begins in Dunkeld and visits Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Tobermory, Stirling, Findhorn, Inverness, Stromness, Banchory and ends in Dundee.