Yesterday was a good news, bad news day – from the Beatles to Cowgatehead

The Beatles musical at the Garrick Theatre

Beatles tribute musical at the Garrick Theatre

So yesterday, with performer Matt Roper, I went to see the Beatles musical Let It Be in London.

A man was handing out flyers to ingoers at the theatre for a Mozart concert. This was either very enterprising or very foolish audience targeting. Good news or bad news.

Afterwards, we went to Bar Italia in Soho and, as we were about to go in, performer Chris Dangerfield came out.

Chris Dangerfield & Matt Roper outside Bar Italia

Chris Dangerfield (left) & Matt Roper outside Bar Italia in Soho yesterday

“I’ve forgotten my keys,” he said, turning back to pick them up off a table.

“You run a lock-picking business,” I said. “Why do you need keys?”

He ignored this, I think valid, point and he and Matt Roper degenerated into conversation about Bangkok. I have only overnighted at Bangkok in transit. All I remember about it is that I was told a military coup there once failed because the tanks got stuck in the traffic jams.

As Chris left, he told us: “I’m off to get some ice cream.”

“Ice cream?” I asked. “What does ‘ice cream’ mean?”

“It means ice cream,” said Chris and left.

I said to Matt:

“I hadn’t realised Let It Be was just the songs. I assumed there would be a story, like the Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon.”

“I have never,” replied Matt, “been drawn to tribute acts and tribute shows. If I want to hear the Beatles, I’ll play one of their albums. I would rather go and see four musicians covering 1960s songs in their own way than just trying to be carbon copies. The trouble with that sort of show is the Beatles are so famous that… well, I know the casting of the musicians and actors and all those dynamics have to work and that’s kind of more important than what their faces look like. But I would not cast performers who look like other familiar figures. They got away with John and Ringo, but Paul McCartney looked like a young Kenny Dalglish and George Harrison, poor bugger, looked like Rose West, the serial killer wife.”

“The only trouble with the Kinks’ musical Sunny Afternoon,” I said, “was that the actor playing Ray Davies looked like Paul McCartney.”

Matt Roper at Bar Italia

Matt Roper phones Bob Slayer for a Download

“Do you know any strange acts?” Matt asked. He was trying to fill a spot at the Download music festival today which he himself was unable to appear at. He tried comedy/music chap Bob Slayer. This, too, was good news and bad news.

Bob Slayer, when Matt phoned, was already AT the Download Festival… but he was leaving.

The good news and bad news continued.

Comic Mel Moon phoned me.

Her Edinburgh Fringe problems have been sorted out.

But she is going into hospital on Sunday for a very serious 9-hour operation.

I left Bar Italia.

On my way home, passing through St Pancras station, I met Italian comic Giacinto Palmieri.

“Where are you off to?” I asked.

“I’m coming back from the British Library,” he replied. “I was reading about the philosophy of humour.”

“Because of your academic stuff?”I asked. “Remind me.”

“My search is about the translation of humour, particularly stand-up comedy.”

Giacinto Palmieri - an academic at St Pancras

Giacinto Palmieri – an academic at St Pancras

“Anything about nudity?” I asked.

“In Freud, of course,” said Giacinto. “Just as background knowledge, I am reading about the philosophy of humour. I found a good quote: Good wit is a novel truth as the good grotesque is a novel beauty.

“Said by?” I asked.

George Santayana.”

“Ah, Indian,” I said knowledgably.

“Spanish-American,” said Giacinto. “Before I went to the British Library, I was interviewing Francesco De Carlo, who belongs to Comedy Sans Frontières a group formed by Eddie Izzard.”

I had never heard of them.

I realised my finger was somewhere other than on the pulse of what was happening.

When I eventually got home, there was a message from Mark Davison, who quit the PBH Free Fringe yesterday on a matter of principle losing, as he thought, £800 in the process.

That had been bad news. This was good news.

“It’s been a busy day,” he told me, “full of messages coming in from Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.

“I’ve had offers of guest slots and, more importantly, have accepted an offer from Darrell Martin to take a 9.00pm slot for my full hour’s show at Just The Tonic’s Just Up The Road venue for the duration of the festival – and to run it as a free venue.

Mark Davison has a bunch of friends

Mark Davison and a bunch of friends hope for genuine change

“I hope the whole thing has stirred something up that will lead to genuine change and performers being treated with full respect… and I hope Let It Be was good. Part of my show this year is Mr Susie doing an inappropriate ‘Jukebox’ musical, so I may need to see Let It Be myself to fine-tune what I’m planning.

“PS Mike Leigh also offered me a slot but this was at Frankenstein’s and I knew my show would not work there, for technical reasons. Still very much appreciated the offer though.”

I went to bed early last night and probably dreamt of bananas and Frankenstein and the Cowgatehead.

But, this morning, as always, I remembered nothing.

Except that Christopher Lee had died.

Or did he?

Is he one of the undead in his black Count Dracula cloak?

Life is probably like a bunch of bananas.

I have no idea why.

So it goes.

 

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