So, eleven hours after starting the seven-hour drive from Edinburgh to London, I got home.
Don’t ask. Don’t intrude on private grief.
Think about it, but don’t ask.
It was an English Bank Holiday Monday on the roads.
So this is the blog I wrote yesterday but did not post… I was too busy crying into my steering wheel.
This year, in Edinburgh’s Jazz Bar, at least six people were recording the show on their mobile phones.
Welcome to the 21st century.
The relevance will become clear later.
I saw Kunt’s penultimate Fringe show in Edinburgh last week and afterwards I thought maybe, as well as the Cunning Stunt Award, we should have nominated him for the Malcolm Hardee ‘Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid’ Award.
Bob Slayer was very keen on Kunt last year.
He harassed me into seeing the act upstairs at the small and cramped Meadow Bar as part of the Free Festival. I remember I was very impressed by Kunt’s talent, but thought there was an inevitable potential professional cul-de-sac ahead.
If you are called Kunt and you sing very explicitly about sex – however amusingly – you just ain’t going (at this moment in time) to get on BBC Radio, let alone TV; and you are not going to get signed by any major record label in the current economic climate, if at all.
I suggested to Kunt last year that, parallel to his Kunt and the Gang act, he could start to develop a second songwriting career not involving explicitly sexual lyrics; I thought he could make a fortune writing equally clever lyrics to equally compulsive pop tunes – whereas, with Kunt and the Gang’s songs, he would only make a decent, if steady, living playing to Chav and Torremolinos type audiences and he would be limited forever to that niche market.
He was not convinced.
And now, well…
I think I was wrong.
Watching his penultimate show in Edinburgh this year changed my mind.
I remembered Kunt had genuinely clever lyrics but they really are wonderfully clever. Not just the lyrics, but the vast use of populist names. And the songs have wonderfully bopalong tunes. He tells me the tunes are highly-influenced by 1980s TV ads. Whatever their origin, I sat through an hour of songs and every one was a can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head top pop tune.
His show as part of the Free Festival this year, at The Hive, had no weak spots – the songs were fascinating, the presentation he managed to vary – and he unleashed some kitsch 80s pop video choreography which last year’s Meadow Bar show had been too physically restricted to show off.
It was a 5-star show; a 100% Heat magazine crowd pleaser.
And it was the audience which changed my mind about Kunt.
For one thing, the venue was overflowing; it was an amazingly over-full house.
Then there were the smatterings of people in the audience who were singing along with the lyrics. They knew the songs well and not just the choruses – they knew every word of the verses too. This was a real pop music gig. Kunt has a solid fan base.
They had clearly watched the videos (which oddly have less energy and impact than his live performances) and/or downloaded the albums (which equally oddly are on iTunes – a particular shock to me as iTunes surreally removed the Killer Bitch DVD within three days for being distastefully OTT).
A few years ago, Kunt and the Gang would have had very limited potential but now everything is changing fast.
People are recording Andi Neate gigs on their smartphones.
Sales of books, newspapers, magazines, CDs and DVDs appear to be in unstoppable free-fall because of internet viewing and downloads.
Most of Kunt’s songs may still be currently utterly untransmittable on radio or TV and he may never get a recording contract from a major record label, but who buys CDs any more? Increasingly fewer people. They go to iTunes instead.
Kunt is potentially a major cult internet download target for the World of Warcraft and iPod generation and word of mouth could turn Kunt and the Gang into a high-grossing name.
In the current maelstrom of rapidly-changing media, who really knows what is going on and what may happen? Not me.
In Kunt’s recent fake Edinburgh Fringe press release, he and Bob Slayer wrote:
“I know who my audience is and they find us naturally through the internet or word of mouth. They are proper people like bricklayers, carpet fitters, shop workers, central heating engineers, students and drug dealers.”
There is a lot of truth in that and what is being described is a mass-market British audience.
There is the Daily Mail audience and there is the Chav audience.
Both are massive.
Guardian-readers? A tiny if vocal minority.
Never underestimate the Daily Mail readership.
Never underestimate Essex man and woman.
Kunt and the Gang is potentially massive with one of those two audiences.
Meanwhile, on a more domestic front, my MacBook Pro laptop does not work, my Hoover does not work and the kitchen has partially flooded one drip at a time during the four weeks I have been away in Edinburgh, despite the fact the water supply was turned off…
Don’t ask. Don’t intrude on private grief.
Real life? Don’t talk to me about real life.