Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Q&A
7 October 2020updated 12 Feb 2021 2:58pm

Adam Buxton Q&A: “Does my ear need syringing, or is it something more serious?“

The comedian talks David Bowie, John Stuart Mill and 1970s New York. 

By New Statesman

Adam Buxton was born in London in 1969. He formed one half of the comedy duo Adam and Joe (with Joe Cornish) and has presented his own podcast since 2015.

What’s your earliest memory?

Being on a big boat with Mum and Dad. They left me in the crèche and I screamed the place down. I didn’t think they were coming back. I imagine Mum worrying and Dad saying, “He’ll be fine, come on, let’s get a drink.” It’s what I would have said.

Who are your heroes?

As a child I liked Steve Austin, the bionic man: I wanted to be a robot yet still be me. My adult hero? Hmm. Anyone who works in the NHS. Is that the right answer?

What book last changed your thinking?

I read Remain in Love by the Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz, and he shat all over my fondness for David Byrne.

Which political figure do you look up to?

They were a couple, but the political legacy of Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill seems pretty positive to me.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

I was on Celebrity Mastermind and I chose David Bowie in the Seventies. I did OK but didn’t know the first single to be released from the Ziggy Stardust album. It was “Starman” – I said “Hang on to Yourself”. Oh Buckles, you terrible Zignoramus!

In which time and place, other than your own, would you like to live?

I wish I could visit New York in the late 1970s and watch some of those new-wave bands starting out at CBGB.

What TV show could you not live without?

I think I could probably survive without Stath Lets Flats but I’d be less happy.

Who would paint your portrait?

Helen Green. She did the artwork for my book and she has a gift for capturing the essence of a person’s face in a very flattering way, which is what I’m after.

What’s your theme tune?

My podcast theme tune is a bit of library music that I sung over. I worried that the line “My name is Adam Buxton, I’m a maaaaaan!” would be interpreted as a triumphalist rebuke to women and the non-binary community, but I’m glad to say people seem to have taken it in the spirit it was intended – ie, as a bit of useful info.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When I was worried about what people at school thought of me, my dad would say, “The people that mind don’t matter, and the people that matter don’t mind.”

What’s currently bugging you?

Why can I hear the blood rushing in my left ear? Does it just need syringing or is it something more serious? It’s been going on for a month. I suppose I should get it looked at but I’m so used to being at home now, I don’t really want to leave.

What single thing would make your life better?

An environmentally friendly Star Trek-style matter transporter that screened for infectious diseases and ear problems.

When were you happiest?

The other day when I was painting a picture for a friend and listening to an audiobook. It wasn’t a great picture and the book was so-so, but I was suddenly aware that I was totally contented.

In another life, what job might you have chosen?

A talented musician.

Are we all doomed?

I don’t know, but I don’t see what’s to be gained from giving up. 

Adam Buxton’s memoir, “Ramble Book”, is published by Mudlark

Topics in this article :

This article appears in the 07 Oct 2020 issue of the New Statesman, Long Covid