Posts Tagged ‘ukulele’

I Played Bloody GLASTONBURY!

I’ve been performing comedy since the turn of the millennium, and been a solo comedy cabaret minstrel specialising in absolute filth and Tory abuse for over a decade. But as you may have guessed – and as is probably wise – I have no intention of ‘making it’ as a performer whatsoever. I don’t think it’s wank or swank to say that I’m a damn good MC and I do miss making a bit of cash from performing at burlesque and the like, but above all, what I’m interested in is the experience of a gig, and sewing badges on my performer’s uniform. Getting a gig at Glastonbury is one of the tippest-toppest performer badges I could get, and finally, this year, I managed it.

Bath has its own little enclave at Glastonbury going right back to the start of the Festival, and it’s the Bandstand. I was supposed to play it last year, but it always clashes with Ludlow Fringe, so it’s never quite happened up till now. Having bagged the gig, 2pm on Saturday 24th, and living in Bath, I was intending to make a day of it, but friends ridiculed me out of that cowardice, and with a loaned pop-up tent, I made a weekend of it instead, and am very glad I did (although my total lack of camping experience made the 3 or 4 hours’s kip I got, hanging onto a cliff-edge in a wet sock, a less than luxurious experience, must do better). I mean, I was never going to spend £250 of my own money on going to Glastonbury – I missed Macca in 2004 and Bowie in 2003, or whenever it was, so all impetus had pretty much gone. But free entry was our only payment, so I made the most of it – I saw Billy Bragg (14th time, I think), I saw Ralph McTell in the Leftfield tent, and got to shout ‘DO STREETS OF LONDON!’ at him, I saw Alison Moyet, Squeeze and Radio Active again, and got caught in the human meatloaf that filled a square half-mile when Jeremy Corbyn took to the stage, so we could hardly hear anything, and see the odd giant ear through branches, as we heaved and groaned in an immovable crowd. Proper ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers’ stuff. Besides the constant battle between horrible food and more horrible shit for attacking your nostrils at every turn, it’s an experience I wouldn’t have missed for toffee.

As for my own Tory-bashing set? WELL HERE IT IS ANYWAY, but it’s an awful recording of a wonderful hour. It’s not good enough for Soundcloud, but I will keep the Dropbox link here for a while, if folk are interested/masochistic. The Bandstand (which wasn’t the humble sideshow I presumed, but had a large and lush hospitality suite where I could charge my phone, and made it my home for days) is in the Marketplace, very near the Pyramid stage, and you have to attract passers-by. Despite Jools Holland and friends making jet engine-volume noise over the way, this I feel I managed to do quite admirably. It was a pleasure to see festival-goers strolling by, looking up, half-realising ‘Hang on, this one’s actually got some words worth listening to’ amid an ocean of far more technical talent-evidencing muzak, and then they’d stop, listen more, and laugh. Loads of people began to stop and pay attention, and even at my most annoyingly modest and glib, I can’t pretend they’re weren’t absolutely creasing themselves up at my filth. So, although this recording gives only the barest idea of what larks my set provided, I was unusually happy that I’d struck home.

And I spent the rest of my time attempting to subliminally promote Tales Of Britain, to no avail. But maybe next year… What? 2019? Bollocks.



Magazine Scraps #3 – #GE2015: THE VIDEOGAME.

I’m not sure what it is about early May and these Magazine-themed entries (just over a year since Magazine Scraps #2), but in trying to find an analogy to suit my dismay at recent events in the UK, gaming seemed to provide the most holistically pleasing answer. This reminded me that, as a writer, my roots will always be in games journalism… even if I can’t actually afford to enter the current gen.

Less than 48 hours on from the trumpeting of the triumph of immense stupidity over simple compassion in the British public that was #GE2015, like huge swathes of the stunned electorate, I’m attempting to find a balance between being positively determined not to let the new government flog off one more element of our National Health Service, to do every peaceful thing possible to be part of any movement holding the Bullingdon bastards to account… with just needing to shut the blinkety-sodding-flip up about politics for a while, and think about anything else.

My anger in the last week has no doubt spiralled into obnoxiousness on at least one occasion. It’s been an exhausting, frustrating time for all correct-thinking, full-working-heart-owning Britons, and the worst possible outcome is now impossible to ignore… but let’s at least catch our breaths.


It ultimately struck me that the numb feeling was something like pounding your way through an advanced level of a perversely, horrifically tough hack-‘n’-slash videogame, a Dark Souls-plus nightmare set on ‘INSANE-OH-CHRIST’ difficulty, and wearing away every scrap of skin from your hands on a bloodied controller trying to beat the final End of Level Boss (a sickening homunculus with the faces of Cameron, Osborne, Farage, Duncan-Smith, Hague, Schapps, Gove, Hunt, Jeremies Paxman and Clarkson, and Uncle Tom Conti and all), hacking and slashing and thudding thumbs down to complete sodding Quick Time Events, determined to beat the blisteringly unbalanced challenge…

… And then having your last tiny scrap of Energy smashed out of you with a totally illogical, impossible-to-dodge killer move from the evilly-grinning Boss, wiping out your very last life… Game over.

… And then you press ‘A’, and there you are – on the next level. Without explanation. You lost the battle, but you’re still there, with another vast new world to traverse, for five years, until you reach the next seemingly-impossible-to-beat End of Level Boss. This time, on this worse level (probably heavily featuring enormous pits of lava) the challenges are even harder, the monsters tougher and crueller (particularly, it already seems, to foxes, and disabled people), and you’ve not levelled up one iota to deal with this.

But we have no real option but to play on.

Press ‘Start’.

Get hacking and slashing, and looking for all the power ups we can find.

Because we can’t let this game beat us.


But anyway – we know a song about that, don’t we?

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 13.42.10

Apologies for turning a diatribe on the tragedy of #GE2015 into a song plug, but the subject matter here is so obscure, I don’t get a lot of chances to play ‘Aw QTE’, and I think it’s a lovely tune and don’t care who knows it. Plus, Dizzy references.

So while we’re on the subject of videogames, here’s the apparently traditional annual array of scraps from my early magazine career, when I was a tinpot handheld gaming despot given the freedom to get away with all sorts of weird gaming mag excesses. All snippets are circa, ooh… 2001?

Such as these Total Advance ‘Daft Professor’ boxouts, for Disney’s Atlantis and some Crash Bandicoot outing, which I assure you were almost amusing at the start of the millennium…


And to return to the subject of fighting, this was rather a fun afternoon’s work, promoting a King of Fighters competition in Total Advance… I still have those pyjamas somewhere.


Any which way but bloodily, let the fight go on. Not literally, unless Osborne’s nose itself is within punching grasp.

Having continually vented my anger at them, albeit comedically, I’m trying my very best to develop a more Christian attitude to the actual deluded, selfish Tory-voters who have ruined the foxes’ weekends. I’ve perhaps permanently fallen out with some very old friends who stunned me by admitting their voting habits, but to them I will aim to say, “The fight continues… But not with you.”

Wow, now THAT’S going to be a challenge.

I Am Not A Man, I Am A Human Being

I Am Not A Man, I Am A Human Being

A favourite at Burlesque nights. Well, the crowds are mainly female…

Fry & Laurie & Heavy Metal

Oh, and by the way, yes, there’s also this…


For any Hugh Laurie / Heavy and/or Light Metal fans out there.

It all goes so almost well by my standards until ‘Big Bottom’, where sadly I lose whatever thread I had, flee from the key and start impercetibly growling. No sound check, you see. Loud noise. And no talent. Luckily, at least you can’t see my face.

The Unrelated Family: Rutles Megamix

It’s been a long time, now I’m coming back home – I’ve been away now, oh how… Hm. But I thought I’d just underline the point that I have next-to-no shame by openly sharing this video on what we might call this ‘blog’ affair.


We in The Unrelated Family do aim to one day follow in the footsteps of the true greats like The Idiot Bastard Band, with live renditions of original and classic comedy numbers, novelty shite and geeky oddities. Until then, well, this is us raising a few ponies for rather good causes and &c.

Anyway, with hideous ingratiating apologies to Neil Innes – not to mention The Beatles – this was the sweaty, sodden finale* of The Unrelated Family’s Comic Relief Show for the Bath Comedy Festival 2013 – COMIC NOISES. As performed at The Bell Inn, Bath on Friday April 5th. Our staining tribute to the Pre-Fab Four: to DIRK, STIG, NASTY AND BARRY, with love from JEMBLE, EMILY, MATT LAWRIE, SIMON AND GAVIN. It’s relatively spot-on by our usual standards, and contains much forelock-waggling.

Hope it makes you sick.**


*Well, no – Cook & Moore’s ‘Goodbye’ was the self-imposed encore.

**Not really, I’m a total turtle dove frood.***

***And on very strong painkillers, should any of this text seem particularly untoward in its tiresomely multisyllabic and directionless… oh look, it’s a hot-air balloon with a bra on it, excuse me.