The inspiration for True Stories Told Live was Malcolm Gladwell, who told me about a long-established story-telling club in New York called The Moth. I mentioned this to everybody I ran into who might be interested in such a thing and nobody could see anything wrong with the idea; that idea being that a bunch of people gather in a bar to listen to a a few people tell true stories. Along with my confederates, actor Kerry Shale and radio producer Kate Bland, I spent months combing London for an ideal venue. Everything was either too big, too noisy, too expensive or too restricted in some way. In the end I went to see John Rensten at The Compass, a pub at the end of Chapel Market which has recently been refurbished as a pub/restaurant, and he offered the use of a very nice small room they've got upstairs.
Thus we kicked off on Wednesday night with our first invitation-only evening. Kerry was MC, I began – on the basis that I couldn't ask anyone to do anything I wouldn't do myself – with a story about my suit, Sue Elliott talked about tracing her birth mother and being traced by her sisters, Chris Difford talked and played a song about going back to Ireland with his mother, Andrew Collins wondered whatever happened to carsickness and Dragan Aleksic described a misadventure involving an art gallery. Some people were quite experienced speakers, others had hardly done it all and when you've got to do up to fifteen minutes without notes it can take quite a bit of nerve.
The reception was warm enough for us to plan another couple between now and Christmas.