A Little Touch of Frost
Mark Twain famously asserted that great humour was only tragedy plus time. The latest creative output from Nick Frost acts as the quintessential example of this. From Spaced to the Three Flavour Cornetto Trilogy, and the odd Paul and Tintin film inbetween, I truly believed that I was a connoisseur on all that is Frost. But shockingly ladies and gents, there was a Nick Frost before Spaced.
The festivities began with a ‘Nick Frost: This is your Life!’ styled segment, with charismatic host and eager audience to match. But before the path that led to the 43 year old man sitting before us could be laid on the table, the big question had to be asked: why write a memoir? With the celebrity autobiography being the most unnecessarily oversaturated marker in modern literature (every Tom, Dick and Youtuber seems to want to have a crack at it) and with an estimated 75% of celebrity memoirs being ghost-written, the genre is hardly as credible as it once was. In his answer, Frost reminisced about not knowing important details about his parents’ lives (first date, etc.) and now with both no longer with us, these details are now lost. This memoir was for his son, to show him who his father really was: all beard, no filter.
Young Nicky Frost was more at home in the rugby field than in the classroom. Catholic schoolboy throughout, he had faith, but it just wasn’t in the realm of education and learning. His love for his parents was conveyed clearly; despite the adversity life threw at the family, reciting a past experience of answering the doorbell as a child to find a woman prepping for a fight with his mum with absolute glee, making the brawl between two working class gals akin to a clash of biblical Michael Bay action movie proportions. Frost did discuss the disastrous effect his mother’s alcoholism and father’s breakdown post-bankruptcy had on his family life. Living in the one bedroom of family friend with his parents and dog was no doubt a sobering experience for the actor, particularly with his mother’s illness. In order to escape the pressures of living with a loved one with addiction, a quasi-pilgrimage to Israel to work on a kibbutz was described by Frost as his university experience, with more Hebrew and political turmoil and less boozing and late coursework submissions. His respect and admiration for his partner in crime, Simon Pegg, was both touching and rib-achingly funny as he described how they would both bounce back and forth impressions of 90’s TV adverts at parties; impressions that would lead to a classic cinematic duo.
The Q&A session was abundant with revelations. There will be no more Spaced. It turns out Mike Watt is dead. Nick Frost wants James Corden to play him in the film about his life, so he can play James Corden in the story of Corden’s life. His ex-wife did want some edits in the book: there were too many references to “shits and poos.” All in all, Nick Frost seemed to be a man equally proud of his past as his present, allowing him to script a truly insightful contemplation of a life lived. When asked what advice he’d give to his 16 year old self, Frost replied: “it will all be OK”, reminding me of that classic moment in Shaun of the Dead when at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, Frost’s Ed comforts Pegg’s Shaun over his breakup saying: ‘‘I’m not gonna say, you know ‘There’s plenty of fish in the sea.’ I’m not gonna say, ‘If you love her, let her go.’ And I’m not gonna bombard you with clichés. But what I will say is this. ‘It’s not the end of the world.’”