COMEDIAN James Acaster is telling tales from his first ever book, James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes, at Swindon Arts Centre on Wednesday.

Released in August, the book became a Sunday Times best-seller in its first week – a success James is, unsurprisingly, very happy about.

A collection of self-deprecating anecdotes about his misadventures over the years, the book describes a breathtaking number of scrapes – from having to hide in a bush outside Basingstoke station overnight, wearing a bright red dress, to drunkenly incurring the wrath of night-bus lads.

Acaster, who has been nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award five times in a row, originally told the stories once a week as part of Josh Widdicombe’s XFM radio show, and later Richard Roper at Headline suggested he put them all in a book.

“I thought that was a very good idea, so I did it,” he said.

“I just put them in chronological order and then they naturally formed an autobiography. It made me realise why I am the way am, reading them in order and seeing where every single one of my problems was born.”

He does have one story that particularly makes him cringe.

“I let myself into my then singing teacher’s house with a key she trusted me with and took a dump once. That story is hard to read back because I do a lot of stupid things in it.”

James said his Swindon show will differ from his stand-up performances.

“I will be reading chapters from the book, taking questions from the audience and I think I’m signing books after. Am I? I think so, I’m not sure. I’ll probably have to now.”

James has become a regular on BBC’s Mock the Week show, which he says he enjoys.

“It’s so much fun. It’s all my mates on it now, so you can just have a laugh with them.

“When I did my first episode, I went there with invisible knuckledusters on, going, “Bring it!” But everyone was so great. Dara doesn’t let you flounder – if you throw something out there he doesn’t just watch it drop and move on.”

And James is looking forward to meeting his fans on the book tour.

“It’s nice once you get an audience where they’ve all seen you before and that’s their sense of humour.

“I feel like I’ve made it very clear what I do, and if people are coming not because they like you but because of other stuff, you can’t control that.

“A very early lesson I learnt when I started was that I was trying to write what I thought audiences would like, and it was awful. Then about six months in I did a routine that I wanted to do and it was my first routine that worked all the time. So what I’ve learnt is, write a show that I want to do, otherwise it just starts to be rubbish!”

James Acaster’s Swindon show is sold out. For more dates on the tour, visit