Tag Archives: Sunny Afternoon

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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Music

My Kinky night… Plus showman and creative midwife Adam Taffler talks sex

Malcolm Hardee 10th Anniversary Show 2015

Adam’s show in memory of the iconic comic Malcolm Hardee

Yesterday, at the Soho Theatre in London, I talked to comic Elf Lyons for a future blog.

Then I was due to talk to showman Adam Taffler about a show he is arranging at Up The Creek in Greenwich to mark the 10th anniversary of Malcolm Hardee’s death by drowning.

“Is it confirmed yet?” I asked him.

“Yes, Monday 2nd February at Up The Creek,” he said.

Then comic John Robertson appeared.

John Robertson (left) with Adam Taffler yesterday

John Robertson (left) be-hatted with Adam Taffler yesterday

“Bloodshot eyes at the window,” said John Robertson.

I have no idea what this means, but he and Adam started discussing their hats.

“I was just talking to Elf Lyons,” I said. “She always wears a hat. She said I would look good in a Panama hat.”

“A Panama with your usual Hawaiian shirts would look good,” agreed Adam.

“Elf asked what you do,” I told Adam. “And I couldn’t explain. Bits and pieces of everything.”

“I’m doing a Burns Night at the end of this month,” he said. “We’re going to do a ceilidh – a Scottish Independence Referendum dance. You get everyone who was for Yes on the right and everyone who was for No on the left and you get them to dance together. It will be really funny.”

“It needs a punchline,” I said.

“It does,” said John Robertson.

“I don’t do punchlines,” laughed Adam, “I am an artist.”

“Where is the Burns Supper?” I asked.

Burns Night without any battling monks

Adam’s Burns Baby Burns! without monks

“In the ecclesiastical colosseum of St John’s at Hackney.”

“Do they have monks fighting in Hackney?” I asked.

“One of Henry VIIII’s mistresses is buried there,” said Adam.

“You have to admire his stamina,” I said. “Six wives and multiple mistresses. Why are you suddenly doing Burns Nights?”

“I love ceilidhs,” said Adam.

“This will not help me explain to Elf Lyons what you do,” I suggested.

“I am,” said Adam, “just making it up as I go along.”

“He is a human dynamo,” said John Robertson. “He is a pathfinder.”

“He is a man with a false moustache,” I said.

“It’s real,” said Adam. “I am a midwife to people’s dreams.”

“It could be a real moustache with a false man,” said John Robertson. “But this is getting like a Philip K Dick novella.”

And with that, like Keyser Söze, John Robertson left without a limp.

“Are we talking about your date with a person from the media?” I asked Adam.

He had told me that, after seeing me, he had a romantic assignation.

“It is a silent date,” he replied.

One of Adam’s many business ventures is a series of regular Shhh Dating events where people, in effect, do speed dating with each other but without saying any words.

Adam Taffler behind Metro

Adam told me this would be the first sight his date would see

“Why are you having a silent date?” I asked.

“I dunno.,” said Adam. “I just thought it would be fun.”

“This is after your Free Love period?” I asked.

“Not Free Love,” said Adam. “The Sex Positive scene I was getting to know a little bit.”

“It sounds like Free Love to me,” I told him.

“It’s just another form of creativity,” said Adam. “Oh!!! That will sound so shit in your blog!”

“Things do,” I said. “In print, ‘Sex Positive’ may sound like a randy man with a false moustache going round knobbing people.”

“It’s a real moustache,” said Adam.

“I have to go to the toilet,” I told him. “Alone. I will leave my phone recording.”

While I was away, Adam talked to my iPhone.

“John thinks I might say something interesting now,” Adam told my iPhone, “but actually I have nothing to say. That is the reason I don’t perform stand-up comedy. But I do do other things like ceilidh dancing and nudie dancing in the moonlight.”

When I came back, Adam told me: “So, this summer, I got invited by my friend who runs an event called the Summer House Party. It is about 300 adults from the Sex Positive scene. It’s like a mini Burning Man. There are loads of different creative things. You can hang-out, do face-painting, do hot tubs and it builds to this big event on the Saturday night and there’s a playroom and I don’t know if we should talk about this, John.”

“It will be in print forever,” I agreed.

“It might sound wrong,” said Adam. “It’s such a sweet thing but might sound dodgy… OK… I went along to the Summer House Party and I was running some of these Shhh Dating workshops and it was great fun and, on Saturday night, there was a big party and, in one room at the party, there were lots of people having sex with each other… So it was like any normal party, really.

“What I want to say is it was really creative and artistic and human, but I suppose you could say that about dogging. What it looks like to me is there’s this whole spectrum of sexuality all the way from dogging and… what’s that other one where you fuck and never see them again?”

“Sheep worrying,” I suggested.

“Maybe,” said Adam. “But this is more like you form friendships and hang-out together. Sex Positive means exploring sexuality and doing it safely. But there’s another thing which I’m starting to understand a bit now… about gender identity. In this scene, you’re not supposed to refer to someone as a He or a She or a Man or a Woman until you ask them first, because there’s a lot of transgender people in the community and some of them got really upset. People are saying: Let’s throw away the whole notion of gender. It’s so passé. So that’s kind of interesting.”

“This is going to sound a bit Californian in print,” I said.

“It is, I guess,” said Adam.

“Anyway,” I said, “earlier, you told me you had now decided to be more into single relationships.”

Adam Taffler

Adam limbering up for his silent date in London last night

“That’s right,” said Adam. “This summer I had the whole awakening of this scene and meeting lots of different people and exploring lots of different things but, actually, I think I prefer to have a deeper relationship with one person.”

“And this media person you are seeing tonight is female?” I asked.

“Yes, I date women. I’m not homosexual.”

“Animals?” I asked.

“Only squirrels,” said Adam.

“And professionally?” I asked.

“I’m just trying to survive and build. I’m trying to do things that excite me and it excites me to have a room of 500 people dancing or feasting or having sex. In a good way. Or squirrels. Or to take artists and ask them what they ACTUALLY want to be doing and then to make that happen. That also excites me.

“I don’t want to do a normal job,” said Adam. “and the things I’ve done before are coming back again this year and getting better and some really cool people are starting to ask me if I want to work with them. Which is great. I like interesting experiences. How boring is that as a sentence in your blog? I wanna touch people. That’s what I wanna do. It could be in a show, in their brain. That’s what excites me. And, again, that’s probably going to look terrible in print. But I’m doing stuff and it’s fun.”

With that, Adam went off to have his silent date with a media person and I went off to see the Kinks’ musical Sunny Afternoon with my eternally-un-named friend.

Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks

Last night I saw Sunny Afternoon & remembered drunk Kinks

Our last two theatrical excursions together – Charles III and Great Britain – were not triumphs, but things are getting better. We saw a preview of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper at the weekend – I thought it had surprising depth; she said it was OK. And Sunny Afternoon could not really go wrong with Ray Davies’ songs and an exuberant (I thought slightly over-directed) production.

I saw The Kinks perform a couple of times in London in the 1970s. They started off slightly dull but, after about 10 or 20 minutes, they appeared to get drunk and were absolutely superb.

My eternally-un-named friend told me she thought Sunny Afternoon was: “Fantastic! Possibly lose the thrust stage as unnecessary and distracting. But fantastic singing, dancing, costumes and – literally – swinging from the chandelier. Fantastic!”

After the show, in the walkway from Charing Cross station to Hungerford Bridge, I looked ahead and saw Adam Taffler walking towards me. It turned out, in his youth, he had known Kink Dave Davies’ son.

“How did the date go?” I asked. “Did you manage to keep totally silent?”

“For the first 40 minutes,” he said. “We ordered a bottle of wine without talking.”

“How?” I asked.

“I wrote it on a Post-it note.”

“That’s cheating,” I said.

Adam Taffler

Adam Taffler on his return from a successful romantic silence

“It was great,” said Adam. “It was fun. She found it a bit difficult at first and we had a 5-minute talking break, but we broke that initial bullshit of This is who I am and this is what I do. We got to know each other really well through not talking to each other and the rest of it was just a dream. We’re going to date again next week. She’s a really intelligent, lovely girl.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Eccentrics, Sex