Monday, 10 June 2013

Sunday Night at the London Palladium

Donkeys years ago there was a programme on telly called Sunday Night at the London Palladium in which all the stars of the day featured, doing a turn, a song and dance or a short comedy routine. Well, last night it returned in the guise of a show headlined by John Cooper Clarke.

The show started at 7:30pm (with loads of people trailing in late from the bar) and finished at 11:05pm, thanks to a long set by JCC who was on for about 1:10 hours. Despite buying his records back in the day (and replacing them with CDs), I've never seen him live before. I had a ticket to see him on the Southbank last year but missed him again. Tonight I didn't and I'm so pleased I didn't.

There was a wide selection of guests to sit through before the main event and the show was opened by Thea Gilmore, someone I've never heard of but impressed me mightily and I've just downloaded her latest album and her London 2012 Olympics song with lyrics written by Sandy Denny, 'London'. I'll have to explore her back catalogue.

The lovely Viv Albertine came on to sing three songs from her first solo album, 'The Vermillion Border'. She sang 'Confessions of a MILF', 'Needles' and 'I Want More', just her and her guitar. While introducing 'In Vitro' she commented that she thought of the three ages of punk when she wrote it: heroine, IVF and knitting needles! She was in the Flowers of Romance with Sid Vicious before joining The Slits so she's seen it all over the years. I wore my 'Confessions of a MILF' badge to the show, the badge that was given away to her pledgers that helped fund the album and I'm proud to say I was one of them. Well done Viv!

There were some other comedy acts and performance poets but I was like, 'OK, but I'm not here to see you, move along', like Barry Cryer and John Shuttleworth and a load of others. I was there for the main event and, after the second interval, the bare stage was set for Mr John Cooper Clarke.

On he came in his amazing skinniness, mop of hair and, of course, sun glasses, and he started regaling us with stories, poems and killer one-liners. I'm not even going to try repeating some of them - you had to be there for his often deadpan delivery of lines that crack you up. For a performance poet there weren't that many poems but I didn't mind, I loved listening to him weave his stories and take us on a magical journey into his mind.

Of the back catalogue, John delivered 'Beasley Street' at breakneck speed (including a 'get well soon' after mentioning the Duke of Edinburgh) and 'Evidently Chickentown' as an encore. All the other poems were new to me but not to lots of people in the audience. I loved his monologues that took us on strange journeys, such as him being the voice of Dominos Pizzas five years ago, Terry Pratchett and Alzheimers, marriage and that he can't go back to Manchester because he's considered fat by all the drug addicts (the poem has the graphic title of 'Get Back On Drugs You Fat Fuck').

Thank you for a great night out John, Viv and Thea. I'll be seeing Viv again next weekend when she supports the majestic Siouxsie at Yoko Ono's Meltdown!

1 comment:

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