WWhen I tell you which book has had a lasting effect on my life, you might think I’m sensational. I would like to declare that the book that really changed the course of my life was Zola’s The beast in man, a book I love. Sadly, but honestly, the book that has had the most impact is Syd Little’s Little goes a long way. Seven years ago I did a show called The Award Winning Robin Ince, Star of The Office, Series 1, Episode 5 (First bit). I played a psychotic version of myself, explaining in rabid tones how I was responsible for the best in British TV and radio. I had imagined that maybe 5 percent of the audience might really believe that the man on stage was a lunatic.
A few days later I was horrified to discover that upwards of 80 percent thought it was real: I was Antonin Artaud, reimagined by Heat magazine. They even believed it, where I furiously punched a melon representing Vernon Kay’s head until it exploded. My “spirit guide” in the show was Syd Lille. I read from his autobiography while the music of Philip Glass played in the background. This helped dramatize the story of Syd musing about how much Cliff Richard liked curry. To distract myself from my disaster, I started showing up to late night clubs with my Syd Lille book and a string of creepy tunes. I would stand in front of the comfortably drunk crowds and read Syd like I was tackling Macbeth.