I WAS born on the borders of Cheshire and Derbyshire, and after leaving school studied ceramic art in Manchester. After a bad car crash when I was 19 ended my studies, I turned to journalism, and after brief experience on weekly and provincial daily newspapers joined The Guardian in 1969. Though hired as a trainee production journalist, I quickly became a feature writer and critic, and it was during my seven years on the staff that I met these veterans of variety. I left the paper in 1976 but still contribute as a freelance writer, mostly obituaries of comedians and ex-variety performers.
I also worked in Manchester for The Daily Mirror and The News of the World, and was part of the launch team for The Daily Star. In 1980 I moved to Ireland for personal and professional reasons, and have lived in Dun Laoghaire, near Dublin, since the 1990s.
In Ireland I have been Arts Editor of The Sunday Tribune, Deputy Features Editor of The Irish Independent and Editor of RTE Guide (the Irish equivalent of Radio Times). I have freelanced as a book reviewer and feature writer for The Irish Times for many years and have also written for Rolling Stone, Penthouse and various film magazines.
With my wife Deirdre Falvey (also a journalist) I wrote what has been called the definitive book on modern Irish stand-up comedy, Gift of the Gag (BlackStaff, 1998), which contains interviews with Dylan Moran, Dara O Briain, Graham Norton, the Father Ted creators and many others (including a last interview with the great Dave Allen), and was Consultant Contributor on comedy for The Encyclopaedia of Ireland (Gill and Macmillan, 2002). My work has also been anthologized in The Bedside Guardian and The Guardian Book of Obituaries.
I have also been a regular broadcaster on Irish radio, doing spots based around my collection of Variety and Novelty records, and writing and presenting my own series for RTE Lyric.
Here’s one of my RTE Radio shows, from 2006.
For the past 15 years I have mostly worked in my successful dual career as a porcelain sculptor under the name Stephen Dee (see www.stephendee.com).