Eight months work experience with the Chichester Observer and its Sussex Newspaper sister titles was the launchpad for a highly-successful career for Alex Horne.
But not in journalism.
It’s in comedy that Alex has made his name. His latest venture seems him bring his Edinburgh Festival show Seven Years In A Bathroom to Brighton’s Comedy Festival on October 12 (Pavilion, 7.45pm).
“My time at the paper was crucial,” Alex insists - with a laugh.
“You sent me to see an all-male virtual strip show at the CFT! I also did a story about a dead donkey. That was my highlight. By the end of the time, I did have a couple of bylines.”
But ultimately it was the comedy world that claimed him.
“I was at Cambridge and I did the Footlights thing,” says Alex who grew up in Midhurst and whose parents still live there. “I managed to get enough paid gigs to stop me having to get a proper job. I have been doing it about ten years now. It’s great. Comedy is really really fun to do once you have got over the first nerves.”
As ever, the secret to good comedy lay in the timing. In the years that Alex has been active, the whole comedy scene has exploded, becoming incredibly crowded.
“If I was trying to make it now, I don’t think I would be able to. There are so many new people around. More and more people see it as a valid career because of TV now. By the time it all kicked off, I was lucky enough to have an established persona.”
For his latest show, Alex dips into the world of statistics. The title Seven Years In A Bathroom is apparently how long we spend there in the average UK male lifetime of 79 years. Sleeping is 24 years; apparently we spend - though Alex is loathe to believe it - a year and a half opening jars; more believable is the fact that we spend three years queuing, queuing here taken in the widest sense to include waiting on the phone and traffic jams.
But as Alex says, in the show the statistics come so thick and fast that no one really has the chance to challenge them. Instead, Alex offers them all condensed, proportionately, into one hour.
“Somehow we spend 20 minutes asleep in the show. Apparently we spend three years in the car, so that’s about two and a half minutes...”