Eddie storms The Gap!
CELEBRITY fans of the euro have
accused High Street chain GAP of ripping off British shoppers. Comic Eddie Izzard
and actor Kevin Whately yesterday picketed one store after a report showed GAP
charge 40 per cent less in euros. They joined pressure group Shoppers in Europe
in parading through the Oxford Street branch in London. The group are angry GAP
do not accept the single currency even though prices are shown in pounds and euros.
A spot check yesterday found three quarters of the stock cheaper in euros. A tank
top cost 41 per cent less and a cardigan 33 per cent less. Shoppers in Europe
said the fashion chain - who use stars including actress Juliette Lewis to advertise
their lines - were not the only mark-up offenders. They are planning more name-and-shame
campaigns. Member Baroness Sarah Ludford said: "Britain is paying the price of
isolation. "We are being ripped off by shops able to charge higher prices here."
GAP store manager Steve Morris said: "Our system isn't quick enough to accept
euros yet but hopefully it will be by the end of the year." Recent research by
an investment bank found that, in general, prices were 15 per cent cheaper in
euro-land. But anti-euro campaigners insist prices will not drop if Britain signs
Like two kids in the schoolyard...Bob Geldof is squaring off with
Eddie on the issue of the Euro. You can read more about it here.
Apparently, they're also playing dirty pool by releasing
an ad showing Hitler as a euro-loving fool. Tsk. Tsk. You
can also listen
to Eddie's thoughts on the advert campaign. (thanks Donna) Another
article here (thanks Cindy)
YOU CAN'T LAUGH OFF THE BRILLIANT EURO
EDDIE IZZARD on taking a serious matter seriously
By Oonagh Blackman and Fiona Cummins
COMIC Eddie Izzard last night hit
back at stars who took part in a pathetic advert that uses Hitler to try to rubbish
He said the pro-pound film, in which Rik Mayall plays the Fuhrer,
was no laughing matter and that rejecting the single currency would be disastrous
for Britain's future.
Eddie added: "If Hitler would have liked the euro how come Haider
and Le Pen don't? I'm travelling in Spain where everyone's using the euro. They
haven't all drowned, everyone's speaking Spanish, they haven't become English,
they haven't become Welsh, they haven't become Afghans. They have retained their
national character, supported Spain in the World Cup and have a whale of a time.
And they can go to France and spend the euro. It's just happening, it's rolling
In the ad, due out in cinemas this month, former Young Ones star
Mayall, dressed as Hitler, raises his arm in a Nazi salute. He cries: "Ein Volk.
Ein Reich. Ein Euro" - One People. One Empire. One Euro.
Other celebs to appear include Sir Bob Geldof, Jools Holland,
Harry Enfield and Labour MP Kate Hoey.
But critics said the ad is a desperate attempt by the pound lobby
to influence public opinion using has-beens who young voters will never connect
And Eddie added: "There weren't any celebs of the sort for the
No campaign at one point. It makes me think the campaign's worried actually."
He insisted Britain's failure to join the euro will damage our
economy while Europe thrives.
Eddie said: "We are always behind in the European game we should
be driving the bus. The idea of people coming together in Europe is a positive
one. We would finally be able to benefit from the lower prices experienced by
euro-zone people. Since the euro Germany's trade with Europe has gone up 20 per
cent, Britain's has gone down five per cent. Staggering."
Former Blackadder star Tony Robinson added: "The No camp should
make sure its arguments are not based on fear. We can't compete with other European
nations if we don't have the same advantages."
And One Foot In The Grave actor Richard Wilson said: "I don't
understand why people are so upset about losing the pound."
Tony Blair yesterday branded the anti-euro ad a joke. The EU said
it was "insulting" and pandered to "xenophobia". A spokesman added: "The use of
Hitler is in appalling bad taste." But anti-euro Tories were unrepentant. Party
treasurer Stanley Kalms was asked whether Europe with the euro would be like one
run by Hitler. He replied: "Yes, there is a danger we will be absorbed economically,
politically into a single-party system."
The issues surrounding the euro are complicated at the
best of times but now celebrities have added their two pence (or the equivalent
in euros) worth to the mix.
Can the pull of the celebrity be enough to sway
the opinions of the undecided? And if so, why should we trust comedian Eddie Izzard
or singer Bob Geldolf and their views on keeping or ditching the pound?
BBC News Online takes an irreverent look at
the reasons why we should or should not believe the words of the stars.
Bob Geldof: Anti-euro
Reasons to listen to him:
Eddie Izzard: Pro-euro
Reasons to listen to him:
Izzard urges euro embrace
Comedian Eddie Izzard will become one of the first people to spend the euro in
London after speaking out in favour of European integration on the eve of the
has slammed his fellow UK countrymen for their "half-hearted" view of the euro,
saying it could become a blueprint for co-operation across the world.
He is also planning to perform his stand-up comedy
routine in German, Italian and Spanish.
either do the European project or we forget it
He has already performed in French, as well as
One of the only UK stars to campaign for the
euro, Izzard will travel from London to Paris and back on 1 January to pick up
He will spend them in some of the UK retailers
who have promised to accept the currency when it is introduced in 12 other European
He said his motivation was "the idea of the European
people coming together and realising that we're not all different".
"This is a 'coming together' thing, and we've
just got to keep going on this project," he said.
"We either do the European project or we forget
it. But not this half-hearted thing that we do in Britain."
Those in the UK should not worry about losing
their national identities, he said.
"In Scotland, they've got the pound and we've
got the pound... but if you watch an England v Scotland football match, I think
you'll realise the Scottish have kept a certain identity.
"You don't lose national identity, and we're
all the living proof of that in the United Kingdom."
what we've got to be heading towards, where we are all one glorious, wonderful
Izzard has performed a string of shows in French
in Paris, and has been learning German in preparation for a European tour, to
start in 2003.
He also said he would like to learn Spanish and
Italian. "They laugh at the same stuff. Comedy is human," he said.
The launch of the euro was a "great chance" to
bring people together, he said.
"If 26 languages and 800 million people, including
Russia, can all come together - which could happen - then this could be what happens
in the rest of the world.
"That's what we've got to be heading towards,
where we are all one glorious, wonderful world."
He said he was "fascinated" by politics but was
not about to become a politician because he would have to give up his comedy and
Izzard, 39, has made his name with his eccentric
stage shows, sometimes wearing a dress, plus supporting roles in films including
Velvet Goldmine and The Avengers.
He will soon be seen starring as Charlie Chaplin
in Peter Bogdanovich's The Cat's Meow and as a transvestite cabaret performer
and ex-soldier in All the Queen's Men.
Izzard is currently performing on the London
stage, playing to rave reviews in comedy A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.
He is also a keen Labour supporter, donating
£10,000 to the party during the last general election campaign. --bbc.com
A single currency's no
Eddie Izzard is Britain's
leading euro enthusiast, but despite his comic genius he could not be more serious
about it. Patrick Collinson met him
Saturday December 22, 2001 | thanks Marian for the scans
Izzard is not joking. On New Year's Day he's hopping across the channel to pick
up some euros; he plans to be among the first to spend them in Britain's shops.
Heaven help the shop assistant who refuses to take them.
"I've got permission from my producer here to
go across to Calais on January 1, get some euros, spend some in France, then spend
them in a whole bunch of shops in Britain. Even the Daily Mail is listing where
you can spend them. I thought the Daily Mail would be saying "no, no, no, no".
He has already forced the Comedy Theatre to accept
euros at the box office from January 1. Indeed, he's managed to persuade an entire
London theatre group to take euros when they finally appear in note and coin form
in 10 days' time.
Izzard is playing to rave reviews in A Day in
the Death of Joe Egg at the Comedy Theatre. He stars in a soon-to-be-released
film about Charlie Chaplin, directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Other stars would be
on the TV chat show circuit, promoting both. Not Izzard. His publicist sighs that
the only thing he's talked about over the past month is the euro. He even uses
his Wap phone to monitor movements in the euro.
It is their huge good fortune that the 'yes' campaign for a single currency
counts Izzard, probably Britain's most feted comedian, as its unofficial cheerleader.
The other side, after all, has got Jim Davidson.
For Izzard, it is a vision thing. "We had two
world wars to see how many of our grandparents and our great grandparents we could
pile up in heaps. With Europe coming together it is the final building block in
the idea that we will stop rolling tanks across each other's borders and killing
"We've got to decide whether we are all very
British in the Victorian way or are we in fact Romans, Normans, Danes, Vikings,
and Celts moving left right and centre. In truth we have always been moving around."
The Izzard name is French Hugenot, and he was
born in Yemen where his father worked with BP. But the cosmopolitan internationalist
of today spent his adolescent years, freckled and red-haired, in Bexhill-on-Sea,
a haven of geriatric Englishness with, he says, "every gradation of conservatism".
Perhaps it was his father's occupation - an internal
auditor - that sparked Izzard's interest in economics and finance. After school
he won a place at Sheffield University to study accounting and financial management
with mathematics. "It was the biggest thing I could find in the UCCA book," he
It only lasted a year. "It was incredibly boring.
I got the impression it was global shopkeeping." But he has remained fascinated
with economics and politics ever since. "I find economics incredibly interesting,
but in reality it's only interesting in a shoptalk sort of way - like saying 'country
X, wow, the GDP!"
There is no rich vein of comedy in the euro for
Izzard. "I don't do jokes on the euro. They always want jokes. Oh, it's Eddie
Izzard, put him on the funny seat. It's boring. It's incredibly boring. It's dry
and tedious. How many conversations can you have about finances? Zero. I mean
(his voice slows) historic cost accounting. I can say this, I found it kind of
Yet the straight-faced Izzard never lasts long.
Off stage he treats you to your own private show; rants, monologues, and sketches
held together by vocal gestures and acute observational detail. Sadly his comic
genius transcribes poorly into the printed word.
Mention Britain's role in Europe and he bounds
through a hilarious sketch about two buses. It ends with a plea for Britain to
grab the steering wheel. "Why can't we just say we're not scared about driving
and say you Germans, you can sit over there and the French you sit there. But
no, we have to sit at the back over there with Sweden, because, well, they're
not sure either. I think we should bloody drive."
He flips back and forth between euro mundanity
and idealism. He jumps from taxi fares in Italy ("you drop three noughts, put
the point in there, take that off there...hell, it's incredibly difficult) through
to complete European political integration. "What we are doing is the most difficult
thing that has ever been done in the world. It's 26 languages, 400m people, it
is bigger than anybody can dream of...if we can get it right it could be a blueprint
for the rest of the world."
But don't accuse him of misusing his position
as a comedian to preach politics instead. "Maybe I am using my position in doing
this, but I'm backing it up with action as well."
The action includes a unique, one-man bid to
create a single currency in European comedy. For the past four years he's done
shows in French in Paris, and is now learning German to do gigs in Berlin. He
puts his fluency in French somewhere below Antoine de Caunes' heavily accented
English: "It's not brilliant - it's still like a French guy going 'So I wazz in
ze zoopermarket and you haad all zeese things there', but you know, you've got
to start, have the idea and go for it."
The "fear thing" that Brits have for Europe is
a constant theme. "Everybody's worried about losing the British identity. But
remember this whole United Kingdom thing - we did a deal with Scotland, and if
you watch a Scotland-England football match I think you'll note there's something
of a national pride thing going on there. With the euro, we're not going to lose
it, the Germans won't become Dutch, the French won't become Italians."
In France he's not yet the star he is in Britain.
"I haven't broken through in Paris, but then I'm introducing a new medium, I'm
introducing a sexuality because I'm a transvestite, and French for transvestite
is travesty, which is like going round saying I'm a catastrophe, and I'm doing
stand-up comedy, which isn't quite what they go for. I'm really running up a hill
Ah, the transvestite thing. I cast my eye round
his dressing room at the Comedy but can find nothing that puts the 'camp' into
the euro 'Yes' camp. No slinky high heel boots, no lipstick, no mascara. Instead
he is in a 'blokey' phase, and when we meet he is wearing plain jeans, tee-shirt
and a distressingly un-pervy leather jacket.
Is Eddie Izzard the transvestite comedian the
warm-up act for Eddie Izzard the serious euro-politician? After all, he donated
£10,000 to the Labour Party and hosted events with then Minister for Europe Keith
Vaz. Does he want to be a Labour member of the European Parliament?
There is a pause. "Yep, I'm interested..." then
he looks around. "But I'd have to give all this up. I've spent years trying to
get here, I mean years."
In a couple of hours he'll be on stage again.
It is a play set in late 60s Britain, and every night he is handed a ten-bob note.
"I'm working in old money," admits Britain's leading euro enthusiast.
of Eddie on the Euro
of Eddie on the Euro...deja vu
Eddies' War of the Readies
By MARTIN WALLACE
THE birth of the new euro banknotes
and coins became a tale of two Eddies last night.
Arguing in favour was comic Eddie
But his stance was at odds with
Bank of England boss Sir Eddie George, who has said the 12 nations which ditched
their own currencies were taking a big gamble.
Izzard, 39, staged a political stand-up
routine in London to launch a poster.
It depicted Britain as a car missing
a Channel ferry and toppling into the sea instead of cruising down a highway into
the heart of Europe.
He announced: “We’re either doing
this European thing or we should forget it.
“Let’s get on the European bus and
start driving it, not sitting in the back.”
Izzard said his motivation for backing
the euro was “the idea of the European people coming together and realising we’re
not all different”.
He added: “We’ve just got to keep
going on this project.
“We either do the European project
or we forget it. But not this halfhearted thing that we do in Britain.”
Sir Eddie, 63, had warned earlier
of perils in handing control over interest rates to the European Central Bank.
He said: “I see the ‘one size fits
all’ policy as a disadvantage and a special risk.”
Eddie Izzard wants the Euro
Eddie Izzard is heading a campaign to get the Euro introduced into Britain.
Eddie Izzard, famed for his ability to do his stand-up routines in a number of
languages, is working hard to support the Euro. He wants to be the first person
to spend the currency in Britain and lashed out at his fellow countrymen for being
such stick-in-the-muds about not wanting it. He planned a trip on 1 January to
Paris to pick up some notes and bring them straight back to spend them in London
shops that have promised to accept them. "This is a 'coming together' thing, and
we've just got to keep going on this project," he said. "We either do the European
project or we forget it. But not this half-hearted thing that we do in Britain."
EDDIE UNVEILS EURO POSTER
Comedian unveils pro-euro poster
Eddie Izzard has unveiled a poster in London to mark the arrival of the euro.
The poster aims to symbolise Britain's exclusion outside the single currency.
The euro becomes legal tender in 12 of the 15 European Union countries at midnight.The
poster launch was organised by the Britain
In Europe group. --Ananova.com