Strawberries to Pigs is the first book from dog walker, vegan and stand-up comedian who refuses to let psoriasis or a crippling fear of microphones stand in his way, Michael Legge (not the one from Angela’s Ashes).
Adapted from his blog that won the Chortle Award for “best off-stage contribution” (arguably a back-handed compliment to pay a performer), the book starts with a foreword by Deborah Frances-White who accurately calls the Northern Irish comic “the funniest man in the United Kingdom,” and not just because of her natural sympathy for anyone fleeing a warzone. The proof of the vegan pudding is in the choking, and her claim is proven over 150 pages of self-deprecating decrepitude.
Legge begins (as he so often does) with an apology, this time for “inventing online anger,” which rings particularly true for me because Michael’s poetic tirades are the reason I started blogging in the first place. The ensuing 14 entries have survived Brexit, Covid and the sudden loss of Gregg Jevin with their wit and hilarity considerably more intact than their author, who vents his spleen as near the page as his aim allows. The chapters include stories of life in Lewisham punctuated by train journeys and being sick, beautiful romances that end in awkwardness and swearing, and the most heart-warming tale of child abduction since Three Men and a Baby.
For all their viscera, Legge’s rants are rooted in compassion, surprising in their targets (usually himself) and wonderfully written. Who else could make a description of a hangover so pleasurable, and that of self-pleasure so self-effacing? The final entry is a new, intercontinental short story about a department store, a funny, absurdist satire perhaps best described as Are You Beijing Served? The book also has a tie-in EP and is small enough to fit into the Christmas stocking of a loved one or the open mouth of a cunt. I think Gregg Jevin would be proud. I know I am.