Tag Archives: Kevin Eldon


Well well, I hope you all had a Merry Crimble? A fine old gorging season was had here at Livesley Towers with copious amounts of festive tuck and grog attacked with alacrity by yours truly and all served with a liberal side order of Bisodol with the stomach pump on standby. So as the final flickering flame of 2015 sputtters its last, and I manfully hoover up as much of the remaining Crimbo goodies as I physically can before midnight strikes and the usual ‘new year new me’ routine begins, thus giving me another stone to lose in the process – ‘gotta get up to get down’ as James Brown once sang – I decided I’d better put the brandy eclairs down for a moment and write up some form of review of this brilliantly chaotic year. Despite employing brevity the following is still quite long – OOER – but how *do* you squeeze an entire year into such a tiny box madam? For the answer to all of this and less you’ll have to read on’t…..

Singing in praise of the late, great Vivian Stanshall at the Bristol Old Vic. January 25th 2015

Me with Stephen Fry singing ‘Sport (The Odd Boy)’ in praise of the late, great Vivian Stanshall at the Bristol Old Vic. January 25th 2015

JANUARY – The year started in spectacular fashion performing ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’ in honour of its late and illustrious author Vivian Stanshall at Bristol’s historic Old Vic Theatre. Joining us were Neil Innes and Bristolian performance artists ‘Desperate Men‘ plus Stephen Fry and Ronnie Golden. You can read a review here. Even as a jaded old sod standing on that historic and ancient stage belting out Viv’s incredible words with Stephen Fry was one of those ‘pinch yourself’ moments that I shall never forget.

Our show was part of Bristol’s 2015 Slapstick Festival, at which next year I shall be giving a talk about Mancunian Studios in January 2016. Is that the time? Best crack on…

Neil Innes, Barry Cryer, me and Graeme Garden after the Bristol Old Vic show

Neil Innes, Barry Cryer, me and Graeme Garden after the Bristol Old Vic show

…twas brillig and also amazing to meet Barry Cryer and Graeme Garden at the aftershow party who had both been in the audience for our show. Pint in hand I was summoned to be presented to ‘Baz’ who held his hands in front of his face and said ‘Gah! Go away! I can’t even look at you! How *do* you remember all those bloody words?!? Frightening’ High praise indeed from one of my biggest comedy heroes. Anyway, enough trumpet blowing but, y’know, sometimes, you do have to blow your own…

FEBRUARY -a lovely clear month which enabled Bill and I to prepare the ground for the CD release of our stage version of Viv’s classic Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, which I am pleased to say that it will be released next year on Rick Wakeman’s new label  – RRAW – but more news on that later….


MARCH – After such a luxurious and enjoyable month working from home it was time to hit the road again, this time down to Innes Acres in Suffolk, to begin rehearsing with the eclectically fabulous band of chaps Neil had assembled to perform at Camden’s KOKO in April to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Bonzos. Neil had invited me to come and sing in The Bonzos bit – it was a double headline bill of The Bonzos and Neil’s other act the Rutles – and we rehearsed in ‘Cradle of Filth‘s studio space in Ipswich. I can honestly say that singing ‘My Pink Half of the Drainpipe’ whilst staring at a wall littered with ‘Jesus is a C*nt’ stickers is one of the most surreally juxtaposed moments of my life. Now I’m no fan of the Catholic Church, unless you count those 5 years I worked under Pope Benedict in Rome, but even I was shocked by such a statement! Kids eh?

The Bontles

The motley crew assembled by Neil for the Bonzos/Rutles show at Camden’s KOKO. L-R Phil Jackson, Rodney Slater, Mark Griffiths, John ‘The Admiral’ Halsey, Neil Innes, Elliott Randall and me. ‘Rutling’ Ken Thornton was in the toilet. Photo by David Christie

APRIL – saw me and my ‘Austerity Orchestra’ – aka Jonny Hase – back on the road to bring Rawlinson End back to the Laugharne Weekend for another wonderful few days of hedonistic and performance bliss that brought the very thaw to the throte of winter. Magical. That is the only word I can use to describe the place. Despite Jonny and I almost being killed on the road back when this accident, involving the lorry directly in front of us, happened we had a fine old time. It is really very scary to think back to how we only very narrowly avoided being killed that day. Especially when I recall the sight of those big gas cannisters raining down on us. Someone was smiling down on us that day! I told you Jesus wasn’t a…well….y’know…..

KOKO Finale

The view from the stage at the Bonzos 50th Anniversary show at KOKO, Camden, 17th April 2015

Having made it back safe and sound from Laugharne the next morning it was time to head south again for a quick warm up for the KOKO show then on with the motley. It was incredible to perform with so many amazing geezers. After this Elliott still felt the need for more insanity and so signed up to appear with us at our annual Stanshallian celebration at the Bloomsbury in London, this year entitled ‘Radio Stanshall’. The crazy fool!

MAY – Where was I? Oh yes, Radio Stanshall. This was the last of a trilogy of shows we put on to remind people of the genius of Vivian Stanshall. For the first one in 2013 – Viv’s 70th Birthday Party – we had a 60s theme for the show, so it was Bonzos heavy with a blistering encore of Ginger Geezer thrown in for good measure. Year 2 – entitled ‘One Night Stanshall’ – focused on Viv’s solo years and this year’s final one covered the work the great man recorded for BBC Radio 1’s John Peel show from the 70s to the 90s. Hence the name ‘Radio Stanshall’.

Radio Stanshall Poster Dun
Gracing the Bloomsbury stage with us once again were Rick, Neil, Rod and The Admiral plus new boys Elliott Randall and peerless comedy actor and Viv fan Kevin Eldon. Also joining us was the ever wonderful Susie Honeyman who I am delighted to say has become quite the permanent fixture of our band line up and has played with us at every show since ‘One Night Stanshall’ in 2014. These shows would have been impossible without the incredible people in the show and the ceaseless support of Viv’s son Rupert. Job done!
Radio Stanshall Finale

The Radio Stanshall line up – L-R Ged Fox, Kevin Eldon, Bill Leach (MD), Chris ‘ukulele’ Uff, John ‘no jokes please’ Lewis. Susie Honeyman, me, my concussionist Jonny Hase, Rick Wakeman, Elliott Randall, Rod Slater, John ‘the admiral’ Halsey and Neil Innes

JUNE & JULY – were spent doing lots of DIY, editing, writing, recording, lots of DIY, chilling out, farting, lots of DIY and generally getting pissed, enjoying myself and doing LOTS of DIY. Ace. It’s what summers were made for!

AUGUST – back on the road for a wonderful show at Buxton Opera House. An incredible venue to bring Rawlinson End to and a most beautiful part of the world in general. A delight from start to finish

Me Bill Buxton

‘Well. I’ve played some fuckin’ toilets in ma time…’ Me and my MD and indefatiguable ‘leader of the band’ Bill Leach soaking up the opulence of our beautiful home for the night. Buxton Opera House. Photo by Warren Millar

SEPTEMBER – saw us taking Rawlinson End to the Rye Arts Festival – another delightful place reeking of smugglers coves and the static generated by Jonny Hase’s balloons(!) Very Daftie du Maurier

Pre Rye

Preparing for the show at the Rye Arts Festival. L-R Bill Leach (MD), trumpeteer Ged Fox, the back of Chris ‘ukulele’ Uff, concussionist extraordinaire Jonny Hase – and his balloons – and me

OCTOBER – we assembled from all points of the compass to record the CD version of ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End‘ which will be the first release on the aforementioned Mr Wakeman and Mr Ayling’s new RRAW label. The CD features guest turns from Rick, Mr Innes and Susie Honeyman and is being produced by Wizard of Twiddly and all round good chap Andy Frizell. It will be released next March

NOVEMBER – I met up with renowned comedy blogger John Fleming for another interview at the Soho theatre, recording continued on the Sir Henry CD and rehearsals began for a further 2 nights of Bonzos and Rutles madness in a Christmas Spiegeltent in Bristol and at the Minnellium Dome, yes the Minnellium Dome, in London. It were really grand to perform with such heroes. I do hope we shall all do it again SOON!!

Bonzo Dec 2015 060

The Bonzos crew pre the Minnellium Dome show. L-R David Glasson, ‘Legs’ Larry Smith, Bob Kerr, Neil Innes, Rod Slater, Sam Spoons, Vernon Dudley, Malcolm Sked and me. Photo by Nigel van Beek

DECEMBER – due to a ‘brainstorm’ I had in October plans were made for one final performance of Sir Henry at Rawlinson End of the year at the wonderful Rose & Crown Theatre pub in Viv’s home town of Walthamstow. I can’t recommend this venue highly enough and it proved to be a very special evening indeed.

Vivmas Final Soc

We were joined by Viv’s son Rupert who compered the evening and charmed the audience with his memories of his incredible Pa. It was a fitting way to end this the 20th year since the world parted company with Viv’s genius and one interesting footnote to the evening was that the top drawer guv’nor to the place – a certain Mr Bun Constantinou – turned out to be Rupert’s old Maths teacher. As you can imagine their reunion stirred some incredibly ‘interesting’ memories….


Lord Rupert of Stanshall shining light on the life of his top pop at Merry Vivmas! Photo by Lee Wilkinson

…so that’s shallot! 2015, what a wonderful year! I do hope 2016 is even half as good! If you’ve read this far then gawd bless you a gentleman and may I wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2016!!! Thankyou all for your support throughout the year – let’s make 2016 even better!!

Until the next time…..cheers!


Laugharne all weekend long!

‘…now a piece of sun comes out again. I am happy… in another half hour the ‘Three Mariners’ will have undone their waistcoats. I shall drink beer with the portreeve, & no scrimping pussyfoot shall say me nay.’ –
Dylan Thomas, Laugharne, 1934

laugharne castle

Laugharne from the air – Portmeirion eat your heart out!

Well. What a weekend! For the 7.125 billion out there who don’t follow this blog, let me tell you that last weekend was the most wonderfully edifying, life-affirming and ale soaked experience for many a year. To save me explaining what the Laugharne weekend is, take a look at the website here. Since I was booked to perform at this wonderful event by co-organiser and music promoter Richard Thomas, I admit to not sleeping much. This was due to the fact that it was my first performance of my show Sir Henry at Rawlinson End without my trusted band, save for one member, spoons and cymbals man Jonny Hase. The drive down there seemed never-ending and, bar a few wrong turns, was quite uneventful. It was very late when we arrived on the Friday, but even as we entered this small town under cover of its starless and bible-black sky, it was clear that Laugharne was somewhere quite special.

laugharne chapel

The English Congregational Church in Laugharne, referred to as ‘the chapel’ by the locals

After an evening of sober reflection, and even a good 15 minutes of sleep, Jonny and I made our way some 50 yards from our digs at the wonderful Three Mariners pub with its top notch staff and patrons, to the chill, squat chapel that was the venue for our performance that Saturday afternoon. I decided to get the stage set and get me costume on straight away, before the nerves made my hands shake so much that it would be impossible. After a very nervous run-through with our new best mate Ed the technician, we were ready. I had heard from Robin Ince on Twitter that he was going to get an especially early train in order to come along to the show, and Robin arrived just before we went on. To our delight he then got up and gave us a very warm introduction. This settled the nerves a lot. Then 1, 2, 3, 4 the strains of Aunt Florrie’s Waltz kicked in and we were off!

sir h laugharne

Me, hymning in bonnet and brooch

It was very odd to do the show in a chapel in broad daylight. More firsts, and as I looked out at the audience I picked out the face of Robin and sitting beside him I noticed Kevin Eldon and Graeme Garden!  Now, under most circumstances, having my work observed by 3 such accomplished chaps would lead to more blind panic, but this is work, and at all times when I am up on that stage, I have a responsibility to the audience to give my all and do my very best. That is one of the basic tenets of my working class upbringing. When people have parted with their hard earned brass for a show in good faith, they deserve value for money. Luckily I managed to keep my composure and did just that, and Jonny was marvellous too. Afterwards everybody seemed very pleased and said that they enjoyed it. WHEW! DONE! I chatted for a while with Graeme, Kevin and Robin after the show, and it was most gratifying to hear that they too enjoyed it. Indeed, Robin described the show in his blog thus – ‘interpretations of grotesque gragoyles of Britishness presented with bellowing & manic chutzpah.’ As you can see the chaps look most pleased with their Sir Henry badges and programmes. If you like the sound of all that then do follow the show on Twitter

Kevin and Robin

I returned to my hotel room at about 5.30, feeling lighter than air as the pressure was now lifted and I could enjoy the rest of the fabulous Laugharne line up. This was meant to be for a shower and a ‘little lie down’. When I woke up it was 9.30 at night, I was so gutted as I’d missed both Richard Herring and Mitch Benn, however I hastily ran out and managed to catch a cracking discussion on horror with Robin and the master of macabre comedy Jeremy Dyson. Afterwards I ended up back in the Mariners talking to Laugharne’s ‘Portreeve‘ Phil, who informed me that he was the ‘top man’ in the town. As the great Dylan Thomas had written of drinking beer with the Portreeve, (obviously not the same one), this seemed rather fitting. We got chatting and my interest in history and tradition must have been obvious to him, as 5 minutes later he had been home to fetch the keys for the town’s Town Hall and the next thing we were in there. It was a bizarre experience to be clambering up the crumbling, web-strewn ladders of an ancient bell tower at half one in the morning, arseholed on Felinfoel Double Dragon ale, but it is one that I shall never forget! Fred Dibnah would be proud! Cheers Phil!

Laugharne town hall

Laugharne’s Town Hall

Amazingly I slept again that night and the Sunday passed by in a whirl of more Felinfoel Double Dragon ale and elation, (ale-ation?), as I had the good fortune to hear Stuart Maconie, Graeme Garden, Kevin Eldon and Robin Ince entertain again. Stuart told me that his Dad was from my home town of Haydock and had spent a lot of time there when he was a kid. I wonder if our Grandads knew each other? More delights came in the form of Kevin’s ‘Perfect Cousin’ character – poet Paul Hamilton – a truly surreal, intriguing, and very funny, Eldonian comedy creation that blurs the lines between comedy, tragedy and literature. Most entertaining, as was the Sunday evening spent supping in the historic Brown’s Hotel with Kevin, Graeme, A L Kennedy, Robin and Dr Alice Roberts.

Fountain Inn

The Fountain Inn is referred to as The Rugby Club by the locals

At about 1am Jonny and I staggered back to our digs at the Mariners and just as I was putting the key in the door, the author John Williams, the other festival organiser, called Jonny and I over and told us we must come and do a number at Keith Allen’s gig at the Fountains Inn before the festival ended. It took us a nano-second to agree, and the next thing I knew I was onstage next to him, desperately attempting to remain upright on the piano stool, play the piano and sing. I did the best I could in the circumstances after a day of quaffing that Dylan Thomas himself might have been proud of, and the crowd went nuts and loved it. Keith too was fulsome in his praise and told me he was ‘blown away’. Result!


The great Dylan Thomas

So that was it, aside from me n Jonny wandering around the castle and the beach eating chips, that was my Laugharne, a place that has the friendliest locals you could ever wish to meet. I want to go back there already! I shall give the last word to Dylan Thomas, the man who is the inspiration for this entire shindig, who said of the place….

‘…it is the strangest town in Wales… a mild beguiling island of a town… there is nowhere like it anywhere at all.’

Me n Stu

Stuart Maconie with his Sir Henry at Rawlinson End programme