Tag Archives: music

No more UK Kunt – The end of an era?

Kunt’s last show

So is it a good gig when, before it starts, the sound of “Cunt! Cunt! Cunt! Cunt!” chanted by 500 voices precedes the act and, before his final song, the entire audience boos at the thought of what is to come?

kunt_withphone

Is it a good gig when the act steals an iPhone to stop a punter videoing the show, then videos the audience and throws it back at him?

kunt_jimmysavile_cut
Is it a good gig when, in the second half, the entire audience is joyously singing along to songs about Fred & Rose West, Jimmy Savile and sundry paedophiles?
kunt_cock
Is it a good gig when the act rips off his penis and throws it into the audience?
kunt_farewell
Well yes it is, if the sold-out Saturday night gig at Proud Camden in London is billed as Kunt and The Gang‘s last ever performance after 13 years of touring the UK.

kunt_soldout_cut

But what is the betting he will be back again…??

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The Kunt (and The Gang) Monologues

When Kunt and The Gang announced earlier this year that he was retiring, I immediately booked him to climax the Increasingly Prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show at the Edinburgh Fringe last month with his song Paper Boy. That version is not on YouTube, but this one is…

I thought it would also be interesting to chat to him for a blog, but he told me: “I stopped doing face to face stuff as it never comes across in print quite as well as the email interviews.”

I told him: “I’m never very keen on written Q&A ‘interviews’ because they never sound like a lively conversation. Writing in grammatical perfection is always a killer.”

So, inevitably, we did do a Q&A email interview. This is it.

Q – Why are you giving up? Have you run out of original ideas? Have you gone mentally dull? Do you now want to smoke a pipe, suck Werther’s Original sweets and hug people rather than offend them?

Kunt and Jimmy Savile

Kunt had new inspiration suddenly pumped into him in 2011

A – I ran out of ideas in 2011 but, luckily for me, Operation Yewtree came along and helped me drag it out for another five years. I’ve been thinking of packing it in for a few years, but my mind was made up because of how many maverick celebrities have croaked this year – Bowie, Prince, Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne etc. etc. If they keep dropping at this rate, it’s only a matter of time before my minor internet celebrity status gets bumped up and then I’m on the ‘at risk’ register.

Q – Are you so stinking rich now that you don’t need to work and just want to watch Countdown on TV?

A – Yes, because playing 50 gigs a year for 6 quid a ticket can make you a millionaire. Are you having a fucking laugh? Don’t worry. I’m still driving round in a Ford Fiesta and looking for the yellow ‘whoops’ stickers in Asda.

Q – Did you get to keep your 2011 Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award or did Bob Slayer nick it?

A – I gave it away in a competition. A bloke from Colchester won it. They’re not worth loads of money, are they?

Q – They’re increasingly prestigious. Is your retirement just a scam? Everyone thinks it might be. Are you going to keep doing ‘return’ gigs like Frank Sinatra?

A – I’m not quite sure why everyone thinks it’s a big scam. I think people are just in the denial stage of grief. I had four people at my gig in Bristol last week tell me that I should call my comeback tour ‘The Cum-back Tour’. With my current Christ complex, I’m favouring ‘The Res-erection’.

Kunt’ll Fix It

Now then, now then, boys and girls. What will he do next?

Q – Are you likely to reappear as a different character? Like Avid Merrion in Bo’ Selecta became Keith Lemon?

A – Highly unlikely.

Q – How did you think up the Kunt character and, indeed, why?

A – I’m still a bit baffled that you refer to me as a character! Is Sting a character? Is Bono a character? No!

They’re really just a couple of cunts so why can’t I just be a kunt?

Q – What were you before you were a Kunt?

A – I worked part-time for the local council doing odd jobs for the Youth Service. Whenever I tell anyone that I suddenly see them thinking: Historical sex crimes.

Q – Odd jobs? Such as?

A – It was a few years ago but, as I remember, I was just sent to the youth centres in the daytime when there were no teenagers around to do minor maintenance tasks like collecting the money out of pool tables and sniffing the toilet seats.

Q – Describe your best shit.

A – A one-and-half turd visit on the 15th December 2013, which I tweeted a picture of to Simon Cowell as part of the world’s first ever virtual dirty protest.

Q – Describe your worst sex act.

A – Drunkenly trying to get big Karen to finish me off in a toilet cubicle in the multi story car park next to Club Art in Southend while my mates jumped up pulling faces over the door.

Q – When you were 17, what did you think you would be when you were 34?

A – I couldn’t imagine being 21 when I was 17, let alone 34. I’ve always thought if you think about things too hard you’ll talk yourself out of it.

Q – So, in the past, this philosophy of life has resulted in you doing what?

A – All this. And kicking the odd pensioner’s wall in.

Q – Has writing wall-to-wall filth worn your spirit down? Are you going to write non-filth now?

A – I don’t think of it as wall-to-wall filth. I think I’m just dealing with the difficult subjects that no one else wants to sing about. Because of that, I think I‘ve been lucky to have a whole new raft of rhyming couplets that no other fucker wanted – like ‘come uppance’ and ‘lady’s tuppence’. That said, I always had a secret ambition to do Eurovision but I’m worried I might be overqualified.

Q – So will you write ‘clean’ song lyrics in future? Your songs are so technically good, you could make it in the ‘straight’ music biz. You could do The Voice or a Simon Cowell TV show or, yes indeed, Eurovision.

A – There’s millions of kunts out there writing clean songs. It’s very hard to stand out. Why do you think I was forced to forge a career out of singing about masturbation and paedofiddlia?! Furthermore, in case you hadn’t noticed, the TV talent shows are not for people like me that write catchy original songs and sing them in our own voices – more for perma-tanned twats warbling around the main melody of existing songs.

Q – Have you made useful contacts in the ‘straight’ music biz?

A – No

Q – Your final show is in London on November 5th. Seven days later, what will you be doing where, why and with whom?

A – Sitting on the sofa on my own, in my pants, watching Police Academy 7 on DVD.

Q – Describe your house. Where is it? – In a city? In the countryside? In suburbia? What is it like inside?

A – Is this fucking Hello magazine? I’ve got a square-ish house with a pointy roof on the upskirts of a town. It is the town where Depeche Mode are from and also Brian Belo from Big Brother. Inside there’s some rooms containing the usual furniture and in one room a bed along with piles of old posters and boxes of unsold CDs and T-shirts. (Note: Depeche Mode and Brian Belo came from Basildon.)

Q – Any unfulfilled ambitions?

Kunt’s Shannon Matthews The Musical

Shannon Matthews The Musical: a great loss to the West End

A – I’m gutted my Shannon Matthews musical didn’t make it onto the big stage. I always secretly believed Lloyd Webber would discover it and make us an offer. But he didn’t, the rubber-faced old posho.

Q – Who was she again?

A – Shannon Matthews was the 9-year-old daughter of ginger munter Karen Matthews, who unsuccessfully masterminded her fake kidnapping to try and cash in on the back of the Madeleine McCann bandwagon.

Shannon Matthews: The Musical is a full-length audio musical I wrote based on the case and then recorded with some mates from Huddersfield. It is my proudest moment, but sadly never got produced on the big stage. Fucksticks.

Q – What is going to happen now when you have all these great creative ideas and you have nowhere to use them? You will get creatively constipated, won’t you?

A – I haven’t really thought about what I’ll do for an outlet but, put it this way, I wouldn’t want to be my paperboy. I have been regularly frustrated on this tour stuck in fucking traffic. Currently it’s averaging out 8 hours in the car for every hour on stage. It’s doing my biscuit in.

Q – Was there ever a Gang?

A – When you’re in it, you know!

Q – Are there Kunt groupies when you are on tour?

A – Sadly, they are mostly sweaty mental balding men in their mid to late 40s. I meet loads of really smashing people but, in the last few years, I seem to have become like a flypaper for nutjobs.

Kunt on tour with Mike Gibbons - "my former manager, minor internet hit wannabe and dangerous loner"

Kunt on tour with Mike Gibbons, whom he calls “my former manager, minor internet hit wannabe and dangerous loner”

Q – Why do you think that has suddenly happened?

A – I think it’s just the law of averages. You meet thousands of people, so odds on there’s going to be a few fruit loops. They always seem to be more persistent and intense, though, giving the impression that there’s more of them than there actually are.

Q – Have you any baby Kunts at home or are you planning any?

A – I’m in my early 30s now so I guess at some point soon I might have to start thinking about that.

Q – Is there a Mrs Kunt?

A – Not a Mrs Kunt, but a long-suffering Miss Kunt. It’s been hard over the years to keep a relationship going whilst doing as many gigs as I have but these days you can just have a wank into FaceTime.

Q – So how are you going to financially support yourself, Miss Kunt and your potential mini-Kunts?

A – I don’t live a lavish celebrity lifestyle. I don’t dine at the Ivy. I dine at Harvester where you get unlimited salad with your main meal. At the end of this tour, I’ll have a dwindling pot of cash that gives me 9 months to work out what the fuck I’m doing next and make a go of it. Having failed at everything I’ve ever done apart from this it’s very likely there’s going to be a much anticipated ‘Cum-back’ tour…

Q  Any regret yet that you have announced your retirement?

A – Of course. I fucking love doing this. I love the gigs, meeting people and hearing about the time they soiled themselves and where they stashed their underwear after. But the time still feels right to knock it on the head, while I’m still enjoying it rather than waiting for it to all turn to shite.

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Prince and the tangled web which gave farter Mr Methane his big US TV break

Prince in 2008 (Photo by Micahmedia)

Prince in 2008 (Photo by Micahmedia)

I stopped writing this blog daily at the end of last year, thinking it would give me more time to do other things.

Since stopping, I have had less time. Who knew? I am now seven un-transcribed blogs behind.

Almost four weeks ago, I had a chat with Mr Methane – the world’s only professional performing farter.

Around midnight last night, he texted me a message. Surprisingly, it did not say: Where the fuck is the blog your were going to write? Instead, it read:

“Quite stunned and saddened to hear about the death of Prince – an artist whose global success indirectly led to me appearing on the Howard Stern Show in the US.

“I made my first ever visit to the Howard Stern Show thanks to the hard work of Lenny Shabes. He was President of WATV. Lenny was a big fan of Howard and became aware of my alimentary talents while in London visiting his friend, artist manager and producer Steve Fargnoli – a man responsible for the careers of Prince and also possibly my biggest fan Sinéad O’Connor.

Mr Methane Let’s Rip in his VHS release

Mr Methane Let’s Rip opened him up to the US audience

“Steve Fargnoli introduced Lenny to my manager Barrie Barlow and, on returning to the States, Lenny sent a copy of my video Mr Methane Lets Rip to Howard’s producer Gary Dell’Abate AKA ‘Baba Booey’.

“Lenny followed it up with an astonishing 90-odd phone calls until Gary and Howard eventually caved in and watched the tape.

“Gary and Howard liked what they saw and invited me to the show where I performed a special rendition of Happy Birthday.

“The appearance was judged to be a success and was shown on Howard’s E TV & CBS television shows with Howard Stern proclaiming himself to be a huge Mr. Methane fan.

“This may have never happened if Prince’s Purple Rain hadn’t established Steve Fargnoli as a giant of music business management with an office in London.

“The law of unintended consequences strikes again.”

There is a video on YouTube of Mr Methane’s first appearance on the Howard Stern Show.

Last year, I wrote a blog which pointed out Mr Methane is related to the Queen of England and Thurston de Basset, Grand Falconer to William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.

It now turns out that, as well as being related to Queen Elizabeth II, he is also related to Lord Byron. Genuinely.

When Mr Methane and I met again a month ago in St Pancras station, he was NOT going to the Paaspop festival in Holland. He had been booked to perform in a cabaret tent at the festival but then, for unknown reasons, the cabaret tent and all its acts were cancelled. They paid him half his fee and all his travel costs. So, instead of going to Holland, he took a train down from Macclesfield to London to celebrate what he called his “birthday we won’t mention.”

Mr Methane’s sister is still researching the family tree.

“Our grandma was Joan Byron,” Mr Methane told me, “and she married into the Bassets. She came from the Byron dynasty which used to hang out originally at Clayton Hall, where Manchester City’s football ground is now.

“We’ve got another grandma – Cecilia de Warren and her dad was the Earl of Surrey. She’s a connection that takes us back to the Plantagenets.”

“So,” I said, “your sister’s doing all this family research.”

Mr Methane wearing a Howard Stern badge

Mr Methane wearing a Howard Stern badge

“Yes. She’s got a BA and an MA and she took the BA in Art History. Before she came out with her Art History degree, I used to think Salford Van Hire was a Dutch painter.”

“Wey-hey!” I said.

“I’ve learned a lot off other people,” Mr Methane continued. “Barrie, my business manager is in the music industry and I knew very little about that too. I used to think Dexy’s Midnight Runners was a laxative.”

“Wey-hey!” I said. “So what have you got coming up in your farting career?”

“I’ve got a very very secret thing that I can’t talk about in Finland.”

“And sadly,” I said, “you can’t do the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards show in Edinburgh in August because…”

“…I’m at the Dorset Steam Fair,” agreed Mr Methane. “Blowing my own trumpet. Then I’ve got to start writing the Mr Methane book. It’s going to be a long time in the process, but this year’s going to be the start of that. I think I need to leave a legacy. I don’t know whether to call it Behind The Behind or Life at The Bottom.”

“This will be your auto-blow-ography?” I asked.

“Yes, there will be loads of double-entendres in it,” agreed Mr Methane. “There’s something else I’m doing… I should write a list, shouldn’t I? But, being a performer, I don’t write lists, I just have things rattling around in me that come out.”

At this point, our conversation was interrupted by a text on his phone from a friend. It read:

A Belgian Shepherd dog not on the beach (Photo by Ulrik Wallström)

A Belgian Shepherd dog shot not on the beach (Photograph by Ulrik Wallström)

Can’t get on the beach for sheep.

“That’s right,” Mr Methane told me. “A friend has got a couple of big Belgian Shepherd Dogs and the sheep graze on the salt marsh, so you can’t have big Belgian Shepherd dogs chasing the sheep, can you?”

“No,” I agreed, “you can’t.”

I had no idea what we were talking about.

It often happens.

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A serious song about being a comedian

Ursula Burns in Belfast this afternoon

Ursula Burns at home  in Belfast this afternoon

Ursula Burns – 2013 Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award nominee and dangerous Irish harpist – has just posted online the video for a new song – about being a comedian. So, obviously, I Skyped her about it this afternoon at her home in Belfast.

“It really is a serious song about comedy!” I said.

“Yes,” she laughed, “It is, isn’t it? The whole new album is serious. It’s not comedy.”

“What’s the album called?” I asked.

The Dangerous Harpist.”

“Of course it is,” I said.

Ursula’s upcoming Dangerous Harpist album

The upcoming Dangerous Harpist album – released in May

“It’s a collection of songs,” she explained, “that got sort of swept aside when I was on the comedy circuit for three or four years. There was a backlog of songs written along the way. I wasn’t just writing comedy stuff in that time. Some of the songs were written when I was on the road with the circus; some are more theatre-based, about when I was writing for theatre. I wrote a musical: we did 41 performances. So the album has theatrical, circus, comedy elements in the songs… and there is actually one happy one!”

“What’s it about?” I asked.

“It’s about crying in the toilet,” she laughed. “But it’s a very happy song. The songs are all slightly different flavours – snapshots… I suppose it’s like taking a picture wherever you are. Lots of songs had built up. It’s five years since I made an album and the last one was so different.”

“How?”

Ursula in a previous creative incarnation

Ursula in a previous creative incarnation

“It was really kinda Celtic and there was an esoteric aspect to it. It was inspired by a book of poetry I found in London by a poet called Fiona McLeod, who was actually a Scots guy called William Sharp, who was actually a mate of W.B.Yeats. The poetry was very spiritual, very nature-based. It was almost like John O’Donohue in his book Anam Cara. It was very Irish, very Celtic, very poetry, very musical, intensely musical.

“It was just before I wrote the Comedian song – There was that kinda crash of the dark side, going to somewhere. It was like I went from the light to the dark.”

“The light was the Celtic,” I asked, “and the comedy was the dark?”

“Sort of. Within myself. I think the thing about being funny… I think you have to tell the truth and, for me, it felt like a darker aspect – engaging with something dark.”

“You mentioned writing for theatre,” I prompted.

Little Red Riding Hood,” Ursula told me, “for the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. I composed the music. I wrote the wolf’s songs in the style of Tom Waits and Little Red in the style of Kate Bush and Björk.”

“And your album is called The Dangerous Harpist.”

“Yes.”

Ursula, on stilts, plays her harp in Belfast

Not dangerous? Ursula, on stilts, plays her harp in Belfast

“Are you dangerous?”

“No,” she laughed.

“The Comedian track,” I pointed out, “says you are ‘dangerous on the inside’.”

“Well,” Ursula replied, “you know the stereotype of comedians being depressed? It’s this on-the-edge feeling. I’ve been operating as a self-employed artist for 20 years and it’s about how that kind of really takes its toll on you. The aspect of smiling on the outside – making people laugh – but, behind it all, on the inside, there’s an intensity or a dangerous on-the-edge aspect to how you are living and how you are feeling.”

“When is the album being released?” I asked.

“On May the 4th – Star Wars Day.”

There is a video for the Comedian track on YouTube.

and here she is as a harpist.

 

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The repeated re-invention of Tom Jones

Martin Soan in the O2 before the show started

Martin Soan discovers butterflies in stomach before the show

Last night, with comedy performer Martin Soan, I went to the O2 Arena in London to see a gig by Tom Jones and Van Morrison.

Both Martin and I are frightened of heights. Well, he is frightened of heights. I am frightened of overbalancing. So I cannot walk across the new Hungerford foot bridge over the Thames, which has no visible supports when you are on it – I can only get about 40% of the way across and then I want to throw myself down on the tarmac and hold onto the surface for dear life.

Tom Jones - the original Henry Fielding film one

Tom Jones – the original movie one

It dates back to a childhood incident.

You had to be there.

Suffice it to say that the O2 Arena is so steeply tiered that only abseilers or bungee-jumpers can feel 100% safe.

The only previous time I was there, my eternally-un-named friend tied herself to the armrest with a scarf.

But I am glad I went last night.

Tom Jones is an example to all performers of all kinds that perpetual re-invention is a good, indeed necessary, thing.

I am old enough to remember seeing his first few appearances on British TV when he tended to wear a white flowing shirt and have his hair tied into what was almost a pony tail at the back. The image was almost of a novelty act because…

… of course, he took his stage name from Tony Richardson’s film of Henry Fielding’s bawdy romp Tom Jones which had made the hairstyle trendy.

That initial surge of success took him to Las Vegas.

But, by 1987, his star – in the UK at least – was slightly fading. Then he appeared on Channel 4’s The Last Resort With Jonathan Ross. The programme’s researcher Graham K Smith (later Commissioner for Comedy & Entertainment at both Channel 4 and Five) used to handle music on the show and refused to let artists perform their latest release or songs they were famous for. He insisted on something the audience would not expect and persuaded Tom to sing Prince’s Kiss which, as far as I remember, created another surge in his career.

And now, of course, Tom Jones is seen in the UK as one of the judges on BBC1’s The Voice – although he lives in Los Angeles.

It is all a matter of perception.

I tried to persuade Martin Soan to explore the possibility of going to China to expand his career.

“You’re ideal,” I told him. “Your act is not language-based. It’s visual. It’s surreal. It’s performance art. There are bits of mime-like things in there. Puppets. Strange characters. Bright colours. Strange props. Experimental. The Chinese would love it. You could even take Punch & Judy there.”

But I think Martin’s mind was on butterflies.

My mind was on Hungerford Bridge.

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Six degrees of separation from Lou Reed

Calvin Wynter wearing a yellow rubber glove this morning

Calvin Wynter was getting medical results in yesterday’s blog

Yesterday’s blog ended with New York theatre producer Calvin Wynter saying: “They called me on Friday which means I think I may have cancer. I don’t know. So far, everything that’s thought to have been cancerous was not – like the polyps I got from my colonoscopy. I had three polyps. No cancer. So who knows? Maybe the third time isn’t so good but, y’know look – I’ve had a shaved head before.”

Calvin has now to come back to say: “My jawbone lesion is benign… Yay!”

In a blog during the Edinburgh Fringe, I mentioned rock star Lou Reed, as portrayed  in the show Transformer. The Fringe show was performed as if in Max’s Kansas City club, New York, in the 1970s. I asked him if he had ever seen Lou Reed perform live:

Calvin Wynter in 1977

Calvin Wynter in 1977

“I was a teenager going to Bronx Science,” Calvin told me, “living in Queens and spending most of my waking hours in Manhattan. Max’s Kansas City was always an allure. You could drink at 18 in NYC at the time and I was 17 with a very good fake ID. So, when I heard the musicians’ musician, Lou Reed, was playing that night at Max’s, I thought: School work be damned! and, ID in hand, two subway tokens and a few bucks in my pocket, I went to see live what I had heard on vinyl so many times before that the grooves were worn out and I had had to buy a second album of Transformer.

Lou Reed's Transformer album

Lou Reed’s Transformer album, released 1972

“In performance, Lou Reed was dark and foreboding which captured the energy of New York City of the 1970s. His beat combined with superb lyrics strung together shards of life, glittering dark and sharp. There was very little movement in his performance, but I and the rest of the audience were moved and moving. Lou Reed was simply so good! You were cheek to jowl, but Lou made you feel like you were in your own bubble and only he could pierce it and touch you. By the way, the steak at Max’s Kansas City was great!”

I also, almost inevitably, asked New York-born, UK-based comedian Lewis Schaffer.

Lou Reed in 1986 (Photo Steven Toole

Lou Reed performs in East Rutherford, New Jersey, 1986 (Photograph by Steven Toole)

“No, I missed Lou Reed,” he told me. “One summer I lived around the corner across from Andy Warhol’s studio on Broadway and I went into Max’s once but the Velvet Underground were long gone. Weirdly, the drummer from the Velvets – Billy Yule – lived on the corner of the very leafy street in Great Neck I grew up on… in a run-down house with a small fish pond in the yard which I envied as a child. I thought the place was haunted.”

Six degrees of separation, indeed.

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Laurence Owen, comedy songsmith with a marriage made in Disney World

Laurence Owen

Laurence Owen – not a deceased female skater

“You’re doing quite well,” I said to composer/performer Laurence Owen when we met for a chat.

“I suppose so, “he agreed.  “There are now two Wikipedia pages on Laurence Owen – one is me and the other is a deceased female figure skater.”

“That’s good,” I said. “Your own Wikipedia page.”

“It is absurdly detailed,” said Laurence, “but I didn’t write it and I don’t know who did. There is information on there that I feel only my mum would know and I have asked her and it’s not her. It’s maybe a little frightening.”

“You’ll be writing a hit Christmas song next,” I said.

“I did write one two years ago,” laughed Laurence. “It was a fairly cynical experiment – to see if you could write ANY Christmas song and then release it on all the channels at Christmas and get it picked up.”

“And the answer is?” I asked.

Lawrence’s album: Lullabies of Pervland

Mr Lawrence’s highly original album: Lullabies of Pervland

“No. Not really,” said Laurence. “But I quite like it. It’s a cross between Bing Crosby and Paul McCartney. Christmas songs are all that jingle bells, sleigh bells rhythm aren’t they? My song was called called Kith and Kin and I shoved it onto the end of my Lullabies of Pervland album.”

“What was it about?” I asked.

“A Quasimodo-esque hideous evil twin who lives in an attic, watching the family from the rafters, looking down, wishing one day he might be invited to sit at the Christmas table. It’s very sad.”

“Are you sure,” I asked, “that you had your finger on the genre here?”

“Maybe that’s why it never took off,” agreed Laurence.

“Although,” I said, “on the other hand, the Pogues’ A Fairytale of New York is the most-played Christmas song of the 21st Century.”

“And that’s not a cheery subject,” mused Laurence.

“But your new Edinburgh Fringe show is…?” I asked.

It might be a Silly Musical but is not a Cinnamon one

Might be a Silly Musical but not Cinnamon

Cinemusical,” said Laurence, “which everyone keeps mis-hearing as Silly Musical, which I don’t mind. But it got introduced the other day as Cinnamon Musical, which I’m not so keen on. It makes it sound even camper than it actually is.

“It’s essentially a one-man musical… a sort of adventure story that consists of music from lots of different genres and is performed by me in the guise of various stock characters.”

“So there’s not one Laurence Owen presenting it?”

“No, no. I appear at the beginning to explain what I’m going to do because, at the first preview, I didn’t do that – just launched straight into it – and no-one knew what was going on. They sort-of enjoyed it but looked quite confused for the first half.”

“What’s not to understand?” I said. “It’s a man singing songs.”

“Yes,” said Laurence, “but I play five different characters in total, plus myself at the beginning. The first is the Disney character – the only thing I’ve kept from last year..”

“That’s the song,” I checked, “where you analyse the limited career potential for females in Disney movies?”

The wrong Laurence Owen - Women's Figure Skating February 13, 1961 X 7205 (Photo: Jerry Cooke)

A photograph of the wrong Laurence Owen (Photo: Jerry Cooke)

“Yes. So she begrudgingly resigns herself to being an evil queen on the grounds that it’s the only appealing option. But there is also the bird character she talks to in that song who is now also a character in his own right. The five characters each have a problem, basically, with the limitations of their genre. That’s the framework of the show.

“The characters have a main song each and, in each of those songs, they establish they’re not happy within the rules of their genre.

“The Disney princess character just wants a normal working business life because she’s ambitious and is fed up because she’s got to either become an amicable fairy godmother or die or become evil. The bird is annoyed because he’s only ever allowed to play novelty sidekicks. So, in his song, he’s campaigning for more lead roles for avian Americans. And so on with each character…

“It all ended up, rather by accident, a bit more issues-based than I had intended. But I quite like that. It’s sort-of got a serious point… ish. And they end up quoting Gandhi…”

“Gandhi?” I asked.

“Yeah. Well, it’s actually a fake Gandhi quote: Be the change you want to see. It’s a quote often attributed to Gandhi, but I think it’s like Elementary, my dear Watson – it was never actually said.”

“Except possibly by Russell Brand,” I suggested.

“Possibly,” said Laurence.

“What is married life like for you?”

“Great.”

Laurence recently married comedy performer Lindsay Sharman at Disney World in Florida.

Laurence & Lindsay - a marriage made in disney world

Laurence and Lindsay have a marriage made in Disney World

“I managed to go through our entire Disney wedding,” said Laurence, “without telling anybody I had written a Disney parody. I think I told our wedding planner that I was a composer, but never mentioned Disney. My dad kept trying to tell people and I was quite embarrassed. Maybe I should have let him.”

“You also wrote the music for The Golem,” I said.

The Golem was at the Young Vic, “ said Laurence, “then went to the Trafalgar Studios in London and has been to China and Russia. I don’t know where they are now – maybe Taiwan. They’re touring it all over the place.”

“And after Edinburgh…?” I asked.

Krazy Kat

Krazy Kat – coming back to a screen with re-scored music

“Well, last year Paul Barritt, the animator, made a load of short films loosely inspired by Krazy Kat – a pre-Tom and Jerry American comic strip about a cat and a mouse. He showed these films in Germany last year accompanied by a very very serious German new music, high Art, experimental orchestra.

“It worked well, but that orchestra are very expensive. When Paul was approached by David Byrne this summer for the Meltdown Festival on the South Bank, Krazy Kat was just too expensive. But then he thought – slightly too late for Meltdown – Why don’t I just get Laurence to do a new score for four players?”

I suggested: “Laurence should have thought of Laurence doing that.”

“I wouldn’t have presumed to ask,” said Laurence. “But we are now going to do that – 90 minutes of film with a live score – after the Fringe.”


A very well-produced video of Laurence’s showstopping Disney parody Empowered is on YouTube:

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