PETER RICHARDSON: FULL STORY & PICS!

And so, the most stressful time of the year draws to a close yet again – The Bath Comedy Festival 2016 is, for me at least, bar a silly afternoon of Unrehearsed Monty Python & The Holy Grail, drawing to a close. Between the shows I have run, the work I have had to do, and numerous personal lifebombs, the last week of March may have taken me to the very limit of stress forbearance. But it sure was bloomin’ well worth it, guv’nor.

In 2013, my band The Unrelated Family played upstairs at Moles Club on a Sunday afternoon – and we were rubbish. But it only took three years to get back to the hallowed music venue (where Steven Morrissey’s combo The Smiths had once launched an album, and Oasis and Blur had both pissed in the dressing room sink) with a full evening of comedy music. As ever, I live my life by the creed that music is one of the most important pleasures in life, and comedy is the highest art form, so bringing them together pretty much constitutes not a load of novelty songs, but the very toppermost of entertainment possibilities. And so, Saturday night was a blast for everyone who made it down to the cellarful of noise we filled with the sounds of Spinal Tap, Flight of the Conchords, Bill Bailey, Rambling Syd Rumpo, The Bonzos, The Rutles, and so on. I’m eternally grateful to guests such as Gavin Lazarus, Matt Bragg, Meat Market, Tin Cards and Martin Roberts (no relation), and we very much hope that Moles (now run by the nephew of none other than John Du Prez, the Python’s maestro) will welcome us back for a 6th FUNNY NOISES in 2017.

And of course, we paid fitting tribute to those ageing or deceased legends of rock Vim, Colin, Den and Spider – otherwise known as BAD NEWS!

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Uncle Simon Williams, Nephew Sam Bligh and Daddy Jem Roberts make noises.

However, while everyone else on the bill was free to indulge in post-gig abandon, I had another epochal event to see to – the second BATH PLUG AWARD at The Little Theatre Cinema, which this year was of course designed as a special night of tribute to THE COMIC STRIP PRESENTS, honouring the career of Alternative mastermind PETER RICHARDSON.

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I’m very glad to say that from the opening shots of the latest entry in the TCSP canon, Redtop, a sizeable crowd of diehard fans were in for a real treat – seeing that iconic bomb heading towards earth with HAVE A NICE DAY emblazoned on it up on the big screen in such a wonderful cinema put thrills up my spine. The initial idea for having a special evening of chat with great creators of classic comedy, while enjoying some of their work on the big screen, actually came from a Stella Street event at the Bath Komedia in 2014. Richardson took to the stage with John Sessions and Phil Cornwell in character as Mrs Huggett and David Bowie, and a special clips package was shown on the big screen. This was hugely enjoyable, but it only created a greater hankering to see Peter’s most celebrated work in a cinema setting. It took two years, but with the help of the man himself, Bath Comedy Festival’s evening of tribute to the Comic Strip gang, from our guest’s old friend Nigel (only a fortnight after reviving their Outer Limits duo for a special Rik memorial), to Ade and Rik himself, to Jennifer and Dawn, to Alexei and Keith and Robbie, right the way up to Maxine… was well worth the wait.

I’ve spent the lion’s share of my entire life researching the subject, which seemed to please my guest pleasingly – and yet the answers given to some of the left-field questions provided even greater delight to me and the massed fans that almost filled the Little Theatre Cinema’s velvety main house. Unheard-of comedy facts and anecdotes spilled out. We were treated to stories about how Paul McCartney ended up cameoing in half-forgotten 1980’s feature Eat The Rich (a satirical swipe at Thatcherism badly needing a modern sequel), about the shoestring creativity which went into Redtop (filmed in just 15 days, almost none of it east of Dartmoor), and were even gifted with the slightest idea of what the 43rd entry in The Comic Strip Presents series may be – a narrative about successive owners of one Mini car, currently to be titled ‘One Careful Owner’. We also had a strong refutation of Dawn French’s story about the last line in ‘Suzy’…

When the loquacious, gracious and irreverent guest finally received his golden gong from Bath Comedy Festival boss Nick Steel, the audience rightfully raised the roof, before a special showing of the feature length 30th anniversary Comic Strip documentary. I have recorded the interview, and may be able to share it on here sometime…

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Yours genuinely, Sir Spider Webb, and Nick Steel.

And so, for the second year running my evening ended with a life-long comedy hero getting me incredibly drunk on ruinously expensive wine. Which is after all what it’s all about. He even forgave me for asking about Carry On Columbus. With so much to wallow in for extreme comedy aficionados and even casual fans of Bad News, The Famous Five, and all the other myriad Comic Strip classics, this second Bath Plug presentation left everyone present hopeful that it will not be the last. Keep your wits around you to discover who the third winner of the award might be…

Thank you, fascist young Julian, Arthur Scargill-via-Al Pacino, the seedy Miguel, Mr Lovebucket, shady agent Tiny Townsend, wise Tony Benn-via-Lee-Van-Cleef, cricketing Policeman Mr Chipstick, Genghis Khan, James Blonde, Whispering Bob Harris, and Bad News’ own drumming legend Spider Webb! THE OUTER LIMIT: PETER RICHARDSON!

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Lockel62@yahoo.co.uk on May 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Absolutely luuuurv Peter Richardson and really miss the Comic Strip Presents, which never failed to leave me in fits of laughter. The whole bunch were and still are absolutely brilliant and legendary. RIP Rik Mayall – a huge loss xx

    Reply

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