Thank you for having me at your wonderful club.
Rob Newman is a writer and comedian. Born 7.7.64, Hackney. Grew up in Hertfordshire villages Datchworth, Codicote and Whitwell. Turned down by nine universities and only accepted by one: Cambridge. Skateboarding for 37 years and still not any good. He lives in London with his Bulgarian partner and their child.
Novels: The Trade Secret, (published April 2013, Cargo/Cargo Crate); The Fountain At The Centre Of The World (2004, Verso / Soft Skull, Giunti); Manners (1998); Dependence Day (1994)
TV shows: Robert Newman’s History Of Oil; History of the World Backwards; Newman & Baddiel In Pieces; The Mary Whitehouse Experience.
Journalism: His journalism has appeared in the Guardian, VICE, and the newsletter of MST (Movement of the Landless) in Brazil.
And here's some high and lows from the last decade:
2002 From Caliban To the Taliban - 500 Years of Humanitarian Intervention.
2004 The Fountain At The Center Of The World published in NewYork by Soft Skull out of Brooklyn, followed by a 26-city book tour of North America, a including sell-out gig at Fort Alamo Draft House in Austin, Texas. The Fountain was Dave Eggars Book of the Year, LA Weekly.
2005 Recorded Robert Newman's History of Oil and performed one gig every three days.
2006 Began researching and writing The Trade Secret after stumbling upon the story of Sir Anthony Sherley in the British Library Rare Books Room. (A fluke: I'd only gone in to find the lyrics to nineteenth century Music Hall song called “Oh, For Another Day At Margate.” It was driving me mad because it sounded like Billy Williams was singing “Bill lost his half a dollar cady.” And I needed to find out what a 'cady' was. Turns out to be a type of hat. But while I was there I thought I'd look up these two Elizabethan brothers I'd heard about called the Sherleys. Seven years later a book will come out!)
2007 Gigged at Climate Camp, Heathrow. Interupted Trade Secret to write and record BBC4 series The History of The World Backwards, which was inspired by a famous quote attributed to a Middle East oil sheik: "My father rode a camel, I drive a car, my son flies a plane. His son will ride a camel."
2008 Walked with a stick for a year after a couple of spinal operations.
2012 In the last year he has lectured on the economics of ecology at universities and at the Centre For Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, Wales. He contributes a No Planet B column to Vice and one for Earthmatters. Finally completes The Trade Secret at long bloody last.