HOW TO START YOUR OWN COUNTRY
When it comes to naming famous Dundonians of our times, Oor Wullie, The View and David Narey’s toe might be up there. But Danny Wallace? The man who, in 1999, dared his then flatmate Dave Gorman to try and find 54 other Dave Gormans certainly doesn’t sound like he’d ever ask for a pie in an inaudible dialect. Yet, in November of 1976, sure enough, the man who changed his life by saying yes at times when he would normally say no (the book Yes Man) and implored people to indulge in Random Acts of Kindness (the name of another book, subtitled ‘365 Ways to Make the World a Better Place’) was sprung from a lady’s tummy in Dundee.
In this DVD release of the show broadcast on the Beeb two years back, Wallace has another brainwave, and instead of helping someone else get famous, he ups sticks to try and find out how easy it is to create your own little nation. Quite tricky as it happens; for one thing you need territory that you can make a claim upon and, frankly, the UN rep seems perfectly correct to reject his application for recognition on the grounds that his London flat doesn’t quite pass the test. Then there’s the problem with the money he gets printed up with his mugshot where the Queen would normally be staring out. And while it’s OK for him to enlist more citizens to his ‘land’ than San Marino or Monaco, none of it cuts the mustard with the relevant authorities.
It’s certainly a daft and entertaining enough idea which strings out over three hours (the extras double that timescale) with Wallace as an amiable and amusing leader, albeit one who doesn’t quite have the inherent funny bone structure of his buddy Gorman. Here’s a thing: Danny Wallace’s MP in the East London constituency of Bow is George Galloway, another famous Dundonian. Surely the hook for another show?