Comedian Patrick Monahan compares life as an Irish/Iranian teenager in 90s Cool Britannia to today’s Teen Brexit Britain in his latest stand-up tour Rewind Selector 90s.
He tours to Worthing’s Connaught Studio on Saturday, January 27 at 8pm (tickets on 01903 206206 or online at www.worthingtheatres.co.uk).
“My mum is originally from Iran and my dad is originally from Ireland,” Patrick says. “He was travelling the world. He left Ireland and went travelling. He went across Europe and then across eastern Europe and was working in Iran. He was a welder, pipe fitter, and he met my mum.
“He was working for the oil companies there, and we came back to the UK just after the 1979 revolution. He was there during the 70s, from 70-71, there for about 11 years, and it was great. In the 1970s, Tehran was a bit like Paris. It was very European at the time. It was very fashionable. There were a lot of western things. The culture was that you didn’t drink, but the people were still very warm and friendly.
“It was still under the Shah then. He was not elected. It was still like a dictatorship, but a lot of it was still very liberal and easy-going.”
And while it had to be done in what we might consider now a fairly old-fashioned way, there was no problem in Patrick’s dad marrying an Iranian girl: “They had three of us. We were all born in Iran. I was about three at the time of the revolution, and by 80-81, the problem was that we were living right on the border with Iraq. As soon as the revolution happened and there was no stable government in Iran, Iraq went to war with Iran. Saddam Hussain wanted to take over Iran, and we were living in like no man’s land. All the soldiers were coming across.
“We stayed there for about a year. My dad left. He went to Iraq to get work. In Iran, all the oil fields had got bombed. Where he was working was all closed down.”.
But eventually the whole family got out, via Dubai and the Emirates – coming to the UK to live in Redcar in the north-east: “I could only speak Farsi at the time. We were all kids, and we went to Redcar because of the steelworks there. There were pros and cons. They didn’t really have any immigration there at the time. It was just before the big influx, and at one point there were ten of us all living in the one house.
“I remember going to school and speaking Iranian, and the teachers obviously didn’t understand. I remember wanting to go for a wee and asking to go out in what I thought was English, but they didn’t understand, and so I just used to have to dash out myself!”
And these are the tales Patrick will tell as part of his latest show.
As identity cards and Cool Britannia were being introduced, Patrick found himself on the periphery as a teenager – trying to blend in but ending up with all the other ethnic groups.
The show is the third in a series of biographical shows in which Patrick talks about his life as an immigrant, following The Disco Years in 2015 and That 80s Show in 2016.
He promises at the end of it all an uplifting message: “I wasn’t born here, but I still feel British. I still feel part of this country, and I think it just shows that all these nationalities are just words that we create. At the end of the day, we are all just people.”
Patrick’s Worthing date will be his first return to the town since he captured the hearts of audiences when he played Captain Hook in Peter Pan in 2016.