It’s remarkable that such a distinctive looking figure should have made a career in impersonating others but MacGowan slipped effortlessly in and out of characters throughout the interview, giving the audience what they had doubtless come to see. All this despite the fact that his ‘Big Impression’ series finished three or four years ago; even he could not remember. There was also the slight hint that he is not entirely content with his art; the comment made by fellow comedian Steve Coogan that impressions are a “cheap trick” clearly still rankles.
Whilst MacGowan was happy to please with multiple personalities, he was anxious to talk about his other work; acting, including work with the RSC and his forthcoming book that tracks his attempt to give up his obsession with football.
The session was chaired by Fiona Lindsay, a great adventurer but not a natural interviewer. As Aaronovitch had demonstrated earlier in the day you need stage craft. Lindsay looked nervous and her questions were pedestrian. She has some of the bigger gigs at Hay, this one was a near sell out on the main stage. Let’s hope she sharpens up.