It's not just the surreal ramblings, or the crazy juxtapositions (the raptor caught speeding by the police, the chicken with the trumpet on its head, the cow struggling not to throw up while chewing on food retrieved from its fourth stomach) or the musing on the process that sometimes leads down blind alleys which only a mimed burst of a bazooka can explode, it's the whole glorious combination. I've already, while reading press cuts, felt a peculiar stab of disappointment on discovering that he likes big-breasted women. In the dressing room (all done up with Moroccan lanterns and embroidered cushions to look like some Aladdin's cave) Izzard is being genial and offering drinks. "Billy Connolly talked about wanting to be windswept and interesting.Most men who had just wowed a crowd of 13,000 might want to relax with their nearest and dearest, or at least their coterie, but Izzard is making small talk with a bunch of strangers. So is he, I ask, eyeing the bowl of muesli and yoghurt, as disciplined in every area of his life? If you see someone like some kid at school, who used to do this, or experiment with whatever substance, or were into punk, I thought that was interesting, and I didn't really want to break all the rules.There has, in fact, only ever been public knowledge of one girlfriend, the rock musician and film-maker Sarah Townsend, and that finished some years ago.
"Well," he says, with a smile that can only be described as rueful, "I don't walk in that glow. " No, I say, I don't think it's the same as romance. I'd have thought, I say, that he could be quite romantic.
It always tends to be whoever I'm in front of, unless they're saying it to me, I'm thinking 'you're the one that doesn't'. "I think I could be, but there's a fear, that I've fallen so hard for people that I couldn't get out.
I burble a quick "hello" and then talk to his make-up girl. "I think," he says, and his eyes, I realise, are a clear, blazing blue, "I have a relentless drive to do things. The base of my character is not that interesting." Hmm.
She's an Angelina Jolie look-alike from his other life in LA, the life where he stars in movies with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, and TV series with Minnie Driver, and manages to squeeze in the odd award-winning role on Broadway. He had ice baths every night to soothe the raw, bleeding blisters, but he didn't give up. That will inform my discipline, but actually I'm very lazy. So this man who has, through grinding hard work, achieved superstardom in the world of comedy, and stardom in theatre, and even in Hollywood, and runs more in five weeks than most of us will run in a lifetime, and who is widely acknowledged as one of the most original minds in comedy, and one of the most influential, not to mention the little fact of the lipstick and the stilettos and the frocks, is lazy and boring. He has talked for years of the terrible, immobilising grief of his mother's death from cancer when he was six.
"Don't forget," says Izzard, "I'm the person who doesn't have the TV show. But Nelson Mandela was ambitious, and Gandhi was ambitious." Well, yes, I say, but they were ambitious for what they wanted to achieve. "I would like," he says, and his answer almost takes my breath away, "the minimum wage for the entire world." Eddie Izzard is serious. He plans, he says, to go into politics within the next 9-14 (yes, he's that specific) years. I'll just do whatever powerful women politicians do." He has been in "boy mode" for a while, for "strategic" reasons to do with movies, and he's "missing the girlie bit", though the "all-boy bit" is having a good time. The many rather than the few." It's hard to see how a man so used to mass adoration would cope with the hostility that faces those in politics, not to mention being told, all the time, what to say and do.
Michael Mc Intyre's doing very well and he's doing better than me, and that's fine, that's cool, but it does mean I'm competing slightly." But is it a competition? He will stand as an MEP, an MP or even Mayor of London. He's already campaigned (in "boy mode") on behalf of the Labour party, most recently last month in Glasgow North East. But I have a peculiar feeling that this extraordinary man, and near comic genius, just might be able to do it.
There's the odd moment that falls flat, which provokes a sheepish smile and a mimed note on his hand, "Birmingham not interested in that", but mostly it's delicious. Every woman in the world fancies this short, pale, chunky man who first became famous for going on stage in a frock and, quite frankly, didn't look that great in the frock, or the PVC skirt, or the shiny red suit, but is so funny, and so magnetic, and so compelling that you don't care.
At certain points I feel my right eye twitching weirdly and am reminded that Eddie Izzard really can take you to places you don't normally go. By the end of the show, the whole audience would carry him home if they could and I almost feel like stopping random strangers and telling them that yes, I'm off to his dressing room, I'm having breakfast with him in the morning. And somehow, strangely, you think that you're the only person who doesn't.
My mother went out later when she'd decided she was going to be a nurse in Aden. We went to Northern Ireland and we were there until '67 and that was great.
Aden was a British colony at the time; BP had a refinery there and they built a town, roads and a hospital.