Karl Pilkington: What I've Learned

Ahead of the start of his new Sky1 TV show The Moaning Of Life, world traveller Karl Pilkington shares what he's figured out so far about work, romance and carrier bags

More From What I've Learned
20 articles
Jeff Bridges
What I've Learned: Jeff Bridges
Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker: What I've Learned
Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Puck: What I've Learned

I'm a very light traveller. I don't like carrying stuff – if I have to do, I take a carrier bag. Susanne is always offering to buy me a bag but I tell her I don't want one. The strap will just break, or something will happen.

On a long flight I have my headphones to listen to a bit of music. But sometimes I just stare out of the window. I am just thinking about what I've seen. I'm always a bit on edge, worrying about how things will go. I am fine once we get there and it's happening.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Unnecessary noise drives me up the wall. Yesterday I went to buy some athlete's foot cream and it occurred to me: the chemist is the one place they should play music. You're asking for some pretty personal stuff.

Getting old is better than being young. You can do what you want to do. The older you get, the more you can nip out in your underpants and slippers and people will just go: 'oh he's old, isn't he' and not be bothered.

I've have got two pairs of slippers. One for doing jobs around the house, one for relaxing.

People always tell me I'm going to regret not having kids. But what if I have one and then I regret having it? Has anyone thought of that option?

I've known Ricky for about 11 years, since just before The Office got big. It's odd - his mates are all really different. It's like a seven dwarves situation: he's got every extreme covered, from really intelligent people to really odd people, and none of them seem to link together. I don't know what role I play in all of that. I guess I'd be bloody Dopey, wouldn't I?

The most interesting bloke I've met was an old friend of Ricky's called Howard who was convinced he was going to live forever. We went for a cup of tea and some toast together at the Salvation Army place in Camden and he told me all about it. I thought it was the most depressing idea I'd ever heard.

All fame is is having people you don't know coming up to you and saying hello. I'm always polite and people are always nice, but it's weird. They ask for a picture, so I give them one, then I think: 'What now? What happens next?'. Then they go: 'Oh I like you programme', and I go: 'Cheers', and they go: 'Are you really like that?', and I go: 'I don't know what that means, but that's me, yeah' and they go: 'You remind me of my Dad', and then they wander off.

Everyone is living for everyone else now. They're doing stuff so they can tell other people about it. I don't get all that social media stuff, I've always got other things I want to do – odd jobs around the house. No one wants to hear about that.

I'll tell you what it's like. The other day I got a postcard through the door that was meant for the neighbours. It was from a couple in Greece. It just said: 'Having a lovely time. Had the nicest paella ever. Beach is a bit busy. See you soon'. I knew the house it was meant for, but I just thought: 'They don't need to know that. They really don't.' So I binned it. That to me is what Twitter is.

I have a concept for a dating party. People get together, and have an argument. It's going to happen at some point, so get it out the way. The nice bits when everything's great – you can do that with anyone. It's when things are turning a bit shitty, that's the real test in a relationship isn't it? So get together and do that first, then see how you get on.

Honesty is important in a relationship. One time in the early days of us dating, Susanne made us a fish pie, and it was rank. So I told her. It still crops up now and again, 20 years later. But I had to tell her or she'd make it again – I'd still be eating it. That's the problem with people – they tip-toe around each other. She's had haircuts and I've gone: 'Why have you done that? What a horrible style'. And I want her to be honest with me.

What I get out of the job is looking back and going: 'What a mad moment that was!'. I don't even care if they weren't filming it, it's there in my head.

I'm not arsed how I'm remembered. What I don't want is people coming out of the woodwork and saying nice things because I'm dead. If anything: be horrible. I'm not going to hear it. Death is the best time to slag people off.

I feel a bit lost. I am 40, so by rights, all being well, I am half way through. That's frightening because I already feel like things are moving so fast and I can't keep up. Just this morning I watched that video – what's her name? Billy Ray- Miley Cyrus  – and I thought: 'What is going on? Why is she licking a lump hammer? Is that meant to be sexy? That looks like a decent hammer, I've got one of them.'

I am at this stage where I can't watch Question Time or Newsnight because I don't really know what they're on about, or listen to Radio 4, because it's like having an exam in the morning, but at same time I don't know or like any new stuff. I am in limbo land, the bit where you're not young but not quite old enough yet. It's an odd life, isn't it?

The Moaning Of Life will show on Sky1 this October.

***

MORE WHAT I'VE LEARNED:

Alan Partridge

Samuel L Jackson

Jack Nicholson

***

What do you think?

Bill Bailey
Culture
Share
Bill Bailey: What I've Learned
The musical comedy legend cracks some wisdom​
Ray Liotta
Film
Share
Ray Liotta: What I've Learned
​The Goodfellas icon on what life has taught him so far​
Jeff Goldblum
Film
Share
Jeff Goldblum: What I've Learned
"I'm 63 and I feel I'm on the threshold of the most delicious part of life. You're not going to hear me squawk."
Don Delillo
Culture
Share
Don DeLillo: What I've Learned
"I don't want to learn too much, I want to be free to invent"
Mo Farah Nike running
Culture
Share
Mo Farah: What I've Learned
The twice Olympic gold medal winner and holder of seven global titles sat down with Esquire to talk about how he gets in the zone for a...
Irvine Welsh
Books
Share
Irvine Welsh: What I've Learned
"Don't mistake writing what you know for writing about yourself."
Film
Share
Morgan Freeman: What I've Learned
"I've always thought that career comes first. Family is a support mechanism. It doesn't work the other way around."
Harvey-Keitel-What-Ive-Learned-43
Film
Share
Harvey Keitel: What I've Learned
What life has taught the legendary actor
bowie-43
Culture
Share
David Bowie: 'You're Never Who You Think You Are'
Back in 2013, David Bowie shared his life lessons with Esquire
Alan-partridge-what-ive-learned-43
Film
Share
Alan Partridge: What I've Learned
As Steve Coogan turns 50, Norfolk's finest shares his life lessons