Sandi is still eager to learn

IT WILL not be a surprise to Sandi Toksvig fans that the polymath QI presenter is a bibliophile who owns an Encyclopaedia of Flintlock Weaponry and a tome titled Knitting with Dog Hair.

“I collect books where I think ‘why would anybody publish that?’” she admits. “So you should never challenge me, as chances are I will have a book about it.”

Sandi Toksvig is bringing her latest tour to G Live. Photo by Steve Ullathorne

A dozen or so such titles will crop up in her new stage show, Next Slide Please, which she brings to G Live, Guildford, this Saturday 23 April.

It’s her first national tour since 2019’s National Trevor – and she couldn’t wait to get started.

“I want that sense of joy when we hear people laughing, meeting strangers, having a drink and just being glad to be out for the evening,” says Toksvig.

In National Trevor, pre-pandemic, she had focused on death and why we don’t talk about it enough. Next Slide Please, will be about “having fun, being silly, doing jokes and enjoying ourselves”.

She also wants more chat than usual from the audience, explaining: “I want to hear what they have to say, I want people to feel they’re being heard.” Of course, she wants to learn something new about each place she visits.

Toksvig, her therapist wife Debbie, and dog Mildred did not spend lockdown bingeing on box sets like most of us, but set out for a ‘learning walk’ every day.

They walked the totally deserted City of London, and she says: “We made it our business to learn the history of every single street in the Square Mile. I would bore Debbie with the information I had gathered. Every street corner has something where you go ‘I didn’t know that, that’s amazing.’ We loved it. Quite a nerdy thing to do.”

She has also been doing extra research for Next Slide Please, explaining: “It’s a ‘brown-sign tour’. Anywhere there is a stately home and a cup of tea.”

Her schedule will be arranged so she can spend time at the local historic sites. But she will also devote part of the new show to the history of the town or city she is in and wants the audience to tell her what’s amazing about it.

Next Slide Please will be full of new discoveries, new adventures, new ideas. Otherwise you become a dinosaur,” she says.

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