EDitorial ± 28-Apr-2003

Sheffield's Finest

Strode in to the mean streets of hip-and-happening metropolitan Ipswich last week for yet more cutting edge comedy, this time at the New Wolsey (tough on drama, tough on the causes of drama). Sipping a swift passion fruit juice pre-show, looked up to see local celeb Peter Purves heading for his seat. As you do. I believe he's on the management board of the theatre, plus he does the odd bit of directing. Not to mention Cruft's.

Hadn't walked all that way purely for a glimpse of a former Dr Who assistant. Star attraction was John Shuttleworth, versatile singer-songwriter from Sheffield, south Yorkshire, and the man who penned this couplet:

Go caravanning in Clywd or Dyfed
Order a pizza and have it delivered
— John Shuttleworth, How To Be Happy In A Sad Sad World

Opening with the topical Disaffected Youth, his focus for the evening was on home security. Standing between his two (count 'em) keyboards was a projector displaying alternate closed circuit images of the audience and backstage, in particular a selection of wood that he'd acquired earlier ("some 2 by 1, some MDF, but alas no pegboard").

Guardian pick of the week, no less

John's concerns couldn't be more down-to-earth, whether it's the worry that comes with having two margarine tubs open at the same time ("craziness"), advising the public on the latest type of coffee, the "caffy latty", or wondering what happened to the little cardboard insert in the Bounty bar. This latter issue gave rise to the majestic protest song "Mars of Slough", urging us to mutiny the Bounty.

Brief mention for his two support acts:

  1. Dave Tordoff, from Goole, a builder specialising in "laser screeding" but anxious to become an after-dinner speaker: should he do some work on the disused chapel down the road and give it to his local community, or convert it into flats for student nurses and pocket 30K?
  2. Brian Appleton, a walking encyclopaedia of pop, who not only name-checked Brian Eno, Nik Kershaw and The Enid (of Clare), but also performed his seminal Smiths-like song, "It's My Turn To Be Poorly"

Returning for a welcome encore, John Shuttleworth enquired: "seriously, when's your bus?", before launching into crowd-pleasers Pigeons In Flight, his Eurovision entry, and Y Reg, a tribute to his Austin Ambassador.

Phew, managed to make it all the way through a piece about John Shuttleworth without once mentioning that he used to go by the name of Jilted John. Oops.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Comedians vs. number of shows attended, eg John Shuttleworth (3):

Be seeing you!