People say if you can remember the 1960s, you were not there.
Perhaps the same can be said for the early days of alternative comedy in the 1980s.
“He was a black cab driver,” Martin began.
“An Afro-American?” I asked.
“No, he was the driver of a black cab,” said Martin with, I thought, a hint of weariness.
“Anyway,” said Vivienne, “what he used to do was drop off comedians as fares. That is how he got to know all the clubs and then he started doing open spots himself.”
“He came on stage,” said Martin, “and all he had was a glove…”
“He was naked?” I asked.
“He used to come on stage,” said Martin with, I thought, a hint of weariness, “fully-clothed and wearing a glove. It was a pastiche of sorts of…”
“…Alvin Stardust,” said Vivienne.
“…Michael Jackson, I think you’ll find,” said Martin.
“Anyway,” said Vivienne, “he had a glove with studs all over it.”
“Rhinestones,” said Martin. “Rhinestones. He didn’t really have an act but he had rhinestones and, at some point, he would get a CD played and he did some sort of naff Michael Jackson…”
“He just used to stand and stare at people,” said Vivienne.
“Yeah,” said Martin. “He was bad. Every now and again, depending on where he was in London, he used to drop off his fare, run into a comedy club and say Can I do an open spot? Very often, they’d tell him to Fuck off! because they’d seen his act before. But me and Vivienne were doing this gig…”
“No,” said Vivienne, “I don’t think you were there, Martin…”
“Oh no,” said Martin. “I wasn’t.”
“I told you about it,” said Vivienne. “It was a feminist gig at the time of Women Only and I was playing with a band called Sax Machine in a pub called something like The Pied Bull in Camden”
“Islington,” said Martin.
“Angel,” said Vivienne. “It was very well known. All the people in there were women, but some of them looked like blokes.
“Oh! I was playing with a band called the Nine Bent Bob Notes or something like that. And suddenly this guy stormed in and he looked slightly confused as his eyes went round the room and he felt there was something different but couldn’t quite work out what. He got onto the stage, got his glove out and practically got lynched by all these women shouting Get off! Get off! He shot one look at me – because he knew me – pleading with his eyes but, like Judas, I turned away. He literally got dragged out by his feet.”
“He stopped performing,” said Martin, “and we all forgot about him – he was a flash in the history of alternative comedy. But, years later, I was coming out of somewhere and – a very rare occasion – I had some cash and flagged down this black cab in fast-moving traffic. It screeched to a halt and the cabbie yelled Jump in! Jump in!
”I warned him: I’m going South of the River.
“Brilliant! he shouted. You don’t remember me, do yah!… I’m The Glove! I’m The Glove!
“He took me all the way home, god bless ‘im,” said Martin. “I asked him: Do you want to come in for a cup of tea?
“Nah, he said.
“How much do I owe you?
“For you, nothing. Just remember… Tell them – You got in a cab with The Glove! You got in a cab with The Glove! and he screeched off down the road. I’ve never seen him again.”
“And all that,” I said, “had nothing to do with Alvin Stardust.”
“Well, it was Alvin Stardust’s glove,’ said Vivienne.
… MORE ABOUT THE GLOVE IN MY NEXT BLOG HERE …