Interview with…Monsieur Le Moore – The Mod Basil Fawlty

Ian Moore is a stand up comedian, writer and French resident. He is often seen and heard on radio shows and TV showcasing his sharp wit and views.

He is also a Mod.

I was able to ask Ian 20 questions which he has kindly responded to below.

  1. How are you?
    How am I? I really don’t know. Like spring weather, I’m changeable. 2020 has me shuffling between head shaking incomprehension, outright anger, gibbering mania with some fleeting bouts of positivity.
  2. Where are you?
    At home in France, the Loire Valley.
  3. Why France?
    In short, because we could. My wife’s family is French and the cost of property around here, compared to the south of England, was too great a temptation. Also, cheap wine.
  4. How’s your French speaking?
    An embarrassment. I was on the verge of greatness, then lockdown came and I didn’t speak French for three months. It’s coming back but I have to work at it. I had to take a French language oral exam when I took French nationality, on the application form my wife said I should tell them I’m a mute. That about sums it up.
  5. How did you get to be a Mod?
    I was just too young to be part of the Mod revival scene of the early 80s, but I had mates whose older brothers were Mods, so I dabbled. It was always clothes more than anything else. Then in my early 30s I hit a wall mentally. I needed something that gave me parameters, something that I could identify with and which gave me identity. Some people choose religion at times like that, I prefer a sharp suit and some polished loafers.
  6. Where do you get your clothes from?
    I love some of the Gibson tweeds, a DNA suit – but it’s how you wear the stuff that’s more important than its provenance. I’ll shop in any clothes shop if I spot something that works.
  7. Who’s your style icon?
    I think that changes as you get older. There’s nothing more tragic than an aging mod still trying to look like a young Paul Weller, with the lego haircut. As I approach my 50s my current style icon is North by Northwest era Cary Grant. An impossibly high bar to set, but aim high…
  8. What do your French neighbours make of your style?
    They call me Monsieur So British. It’s fair to say no-one else in rural France dresses quite like I do, but I’m hoping that Prince of Wales check strides, a Smedley top and a Tootal scarf will become the norm in an early morning Boulangerie queue. It’s like missionary work.
  9. Who are your comedy influences?
    Woody Allen primarily. Though my own style isn’t exactly New York Jewish liberal! Dave Allen would be closer to my stand up style now, but there are no direct influences as such. As a stand up you have to find your own voice, or you’r just one of the numbers.
  10. Who are your favourite bands/artists?
    I have fairly eclectic tastes. The Beatles are completely peerless, but I also like The Small Faces. I like The Style Council more than The Jam, and early solo Paul Weller was huge for me. Pulp were way ahead of either Blur or Oasis. Post Motown The Four Tops were criminally underrated, as is Melody Gardot but nobody gets me more than Frank Sinatra.
  11. What’s your favourite record?
    I always cheat this question. Side B of Abbey Road, it has everything.
  12. What’s a good French wine to drink?
    Rosé. Lots of it and as often as possible. My favourite is called ‘Les Tourettes’, it’s from Provence, and does what it says on the bottle.
  13. What do you miss about England? I’m assuming nothing.
    Your assumption is correct. Maybe, at a push, going for a pint with mates.
  14. What do you prefer Comedy or Writing?
    There is no high like a stage high, but there’s nothing like staying at home to earn money! I’ll always take a mix of the two.
  15. Is it true you are a bit of a whizz in making chutney? Care to explain further.
    Our place came with an orchard, plums, peaches, quince, medlar and so on. Now, to my mind a true mod should be wary of fresh fruit – no-one needs juice on their Fred Perry – so to avoid disaster I boil all the goodness out of the stuff and stick it safely in jars.
  16. Are you also trying to be a French version of Basil Fawlty?
    We have a B&B here and yes, my impatience with people and the world at large, simmers just below the surface. I’ve thrown out a number of people who I decided were too untidy. My gaff, my rules!
  17. What’s your view on current censorship of TV comedy shows?
    The thing about censorship is who makes the decisions, who is doing the censoring? How far do you let it go? In the case of Little Britain, a nasty, pernicious show anyway, why the Hell were some of those sketches even allowed?! You have to trust adults to be adults, a pre-show warning that attitudes have changed and so on is, in most cases, enough.
  18. How do you feel comedy clubs will survive post Covid?
    They won’t if there’s any level of social distancing, the margins were too thin as they were. A lot of clubs will go to the wall sadly.
  19. Favourite way to relax?
    Sitting in the garden reading, with a glass of rosé in hand, barely audible Test Match Special crackling on long wave in the background. Phone off. And the family out!
  20. Finally, can you tell us a joke?
    I haven’t worked for three months and you want a free joke?! It’ll cost you I’m afraid…

So there you have it from Britain’s and maybe France’s third favourite Mod.

You can catch up with Ian’s early adventures in France by reading his excellent books.

Also check out his You Tube page and keep an ear out for him on Fighting Talk.

Follow him on Twitter as well @Monsieurlemoore

If you fancy a nice French break and you can keep tidy, then I’m sure Ian would welcome you at his B&B!!!!

Finally, I really hope to see him back on stage at various comedy clubs as soon as possible.

Merci beaucoup Ian

All Photos C/O Andy Hollingworth, Richard Wood, Steve Best and David Packard

The Dapper Chapper

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