Shaun Keaveny - The Early Morning Kensal Riser - Part II

 By  journalist/writer Richard Foster

BBC Radio DJ Shaun Keaveny for 6 Music is interviewed by journalist/writer Richard Foster. This is Part II. You can read Part I here.

A few weeks later..., back at the Masons.
The second time I interview Shaun is on the cusp of his second stand-up comedy slot in a “former public toilet in Shepherds Bush” aka Ginglik and he is a tad apprehensive about the prospect. Indeed he is not sure he will go ahead with the commitment. Surely our modern Renaissance Man is not getting cold feet. 
Keaveny explains that his first stand-up comedy spot was “not real” as people were invited to try doing a comedy slot for the first time. It was more of a social experiment than a real life gig and consequently the audience was probably a great deal kinder than the normal pissed-up hecklers you would perform in front of during a standard comedy night. Keaveny also points out that the compere,  Rufus Hound, was so brilliant that he covered over any cracks. So he feels it is worth going for the second one without the cover of mass comic virginity to hide behind. 
This talk of comedy prompts a discussion of how one can use writing material as a screen against the madness and continuous irritations of the world. Shaun points out that observation is so important as “you are trying to glean material for your daily bread and we (writers/presenters) are very fortunate to live that extremely normal life beyond the hassles of modern life, like the pain of public transport, so even though you are doing normal things, this is where you get your inspiration.” 
This rings so true as I quote the example of an estate agents’ slogan that is plastered all over the platforms of Clapham Junction station extolling the fact that “We Live Here”  as if that solitary fact would get hordes of people desperately trying to snap up property. Absurd, in fact most sentient beings would run a fair mile to avoid being neighbours of estate agents. But we must not start a rant on that softest of targets however tempting it may be. Suffice to say that sketch writing “gives you the ammunition and inspiration to live that life.” 
Shaun illustrates the idea of mining the absurdities that surround us by pointing to the fact that a while back at Kensal Green station there was a sign explaining that there would be “a zero tolerance to graffiti. Then someone scrawled a short profanity on the same sign. It stayed there for 2 months.” Keaveny’s comic observations, which are not only festooned across his breakfast show but also provide the basis of his stand-up routine, are always wry and generally spot on.  
That he can remain so observant and tuned-in to everyday life shows a man with his feet firmly on the ground, which is remarkable since his crazy hours would kill most of us. Add to the mix that he has been enduring such a life for a decade with slots across the night and early morning and his ability to make us laugh at the peculiarities and quirks is awe-inspiring. 
“I have led this staggered life,” he continues “and it has become the norm. I have been very blessed in all those 10 years that I have not had to work for eight solid hours.” The superficial allure of doing a three hour long radio show soon palls with the alarm going off at some ungodly hour every weekday. So does he get the compensation of seeing any amazing sights that the rest of us don’t? 
“Apart from seeing the odd urban fox at 6am I see very little else through my sleep-encrusted eyes. Also coming back home to Kensal Green at midday or 1 in the afternoon is quite weird. Sometimes it’s a straight duke out between me trying to work at home and Arthur trying to play at home. I usually lose and have to up sticks to Gracelands to get owt done” .
“I did see an awful sight a few days ago when I spotted this gaunt guy with a can of extra strength lager in the early afternoon. I was thinking of taking him a sandwich but I never got round to it. I am not that nice. I had the thought but not the action which is often the problem with my life.” This sounds odd coming from someone who has managed to fit so much into his life and maybe his continual dissatisfaction with himself is what drives him on to do more and more. He will never be satisfied until he is recognised as the new Leonardo da Vinci. 
Keaveny has been a Kensal Green resident for three years now and he feels comfortable in NW10. “this is a good place to live,” he enthuses. “I am surrounded by my kind of people. They are not Trustafarians or bankers, just decent folks.” He enjoys the cosmopolitan nature of life in NW10 without any of the pretensions of many of the surrounding areas. 
Richard Foster has his own blog  at http://fosterfire.blogspot.com and occasionally writes for Park Life
He also co-hosts 7th Heaven quiz  with Simon London at The Masons Arms once a month.
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