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Like many of my generation, for a long time I was sceptical of internet technology. Whatever the potential, the main purpose seemed to be for bored office workers to send e-mails such as “Can people take only ONE MALTESER AT A TIME from the chocolate tin as some of us haven’t had any while others have had FOUR!!!” Or “Has anyone seen my elastic band?”

Website forums, which promised unprecedented global debate and discourse all seem to degenerate into the same nine people slagging each other off, like Eastenders with exclamation marks. There’s probably a forum for astro-physicists, in which every thread ends with someone calling themselves Black Hole posting “So – Quantum Boy upholds the possibility of string theory in a parallel universe! Why aren’t I surprised? Face up to it, your theory’s are anti-matter you tosspot sub-atomic loser.”

But gradually I’ve come to accept that, whatever anti-social habits it encourages, it also opens up many wonderful possibilities it would be stupid not to embrace. So this is my website, only about ten years late. I hope it will play a tiny part in relaying ideas that can help to resist the corporate monstrosities, compulsive warmongers and unfeasibly vacuous celebrities that darken our world.

To be honest, it’s more likely to inform you where I’ll be performing and what other bits of stuff in public I’ll be doing. Soon it should be possible to download from this site the series of lectures I did on television which, for a series of contractual reasons that leave me utterly bamboozled can’t be sold as normal DVDs. And I’ll be able to post bits of writing, including articles such as the one The Observer asked me to write but then refused to print.

But mostly, like anything else a comic does, it will serve as an instrument for my own ego-mania. After all, every tatty florist, trainee busker or local ant-keeping society now has their own website. So someone better look at this one from time to time, even if three of you take turns once a week.

Mark Steel, February 2008


The Mark Steel Solution:

Mark’s BBC radio series.

Series 1 – Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 5 in 1992:

The Royal Family – ‘The Royal Family should be chosen by weekly lottery’ ( 9 October 1992)
The Family – ‘Nobody should be allowed to live in the same family for more than a year’ (16 October 1992)
Judges – “Criminals should be recruited as high courts judges” (23 October 1992)
School – “Nobody should go to school until they’re 35” (30 October 1992)
England – “Anyone born in England should be deported” (6 November 1992)
The Economy – “All government economic policy should be decided by sport” (13 November 1992)

Series 2 – Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1994:

Unemployment – “Having a job should be illegal” (15 July 1994)
Transport – “Transport should only be paid for by people who don’t use it” (22 July 1994)
Housing – “Everyone in Britain should be rehoused at random” (29 July 1994)
The Royal Family – “The Royal Family should be chosen by weekly lottery” (presumably 5 August 1994)

Series 3 – Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1995:

Sexuality – “Everyone should have to be gay for two years”
Charity – “Anybody who gives to charity should be jailed”
Crime – “Criminals should decide their own punishment”
Immigration – “Anyone born in England should be deported”

Series 4 – Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1996:

Religion – “People should have to change their religion every Monday”
Media – “Anyone in charge of the media should be sacked after thirty minutes”
Education – “Nobody should go to school until they are 36”
Life – “Pessimists should be persecuted by law”

The Mark Steel Revolution:

Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1998:
The French Revolution (30th June 1998)
The Sexual Revolution (7th July 1998)
The Russian Revolution (14th July 1998)
The Industrial Revolution (21st July 1998)
The American Civil War (28th July 1998)
The Evolution of Man (4th August 1998)

The Mark Steel Lectures:

Originally broadcast on Radio 4 between 1999 and 2002:

Series 1 – Englishmen who changed the course of history

Oliver Cromwell (9 August 1999)
W G Grace (16 August 1999)
Charlie Chaplin (23 August 1999)
Thomas Paine (30 August 1999)

Series 2 – People with a passion

Lord Byron (13 February 2001)
Aristotle (20 March 2001)
Leonardo Da Vinci(27 March 2001)
Che Guevara (3 April 2001)
Billie Holliday (10 April 2001)
Karl Marx (17 April 2001)

Series 3 – People with a passion

Ludwig Van Beethoven (18 September 2002)
Hannibal (25 September 2002)
Isaac Newton (2 October 2002)
Mary Shelley (9 October 2002)
Muhammad Ali (16 October 2002)
Napoleon Bonaparte (23 October 2002)


The Mark Steel Lectures