Saturday, January 12, 2008


One of the funniest men of our generation, of that there is no doubt.

You see, this is my sort of comedy, observation comedy, storyville comedy, you could go and see his act every night for a week and while the script would be roughly the same every night it wouldn't be told in the same way twice, you can tell that his script is only very loose and that stories are incorporated as ideas spring to mind on stage - a true genius comedian.

By contrast I have seen many poor comedians, some so poor that I have seen them paid off in the middle of their act, I've even seen one be physically dragged from the stage by three members of the audience and another have to retreat to his dressing room under a hail of pennies - both of them deserved it for they were "Stand up" comedians, comedians who told jokes and the jokes never changed from night to night and the problem for these sort of comedians is that the material is very rarely theirs so an audience will invariably have heard the joke somewhere else - stand up comedians have a hard job if they haven't got the skill to simply tell stories like Billy Connelly.

There was an old pub that we used to go in when ah wor nobbut a lad, The Kings Arms on Horsforth Town Street, a typical Victorian pub that had never changed in 100 years, an old mans pub, a pub where on a saturday night they employed a blind man to play the piano, entertainment for the use of, and drunk people would get up and sing at the piano.

Without exception they could not sing, but when drunk no-one noticed, but one thing that we did notice during those times was that when drunk people sing they end every line with the word "....aaaaagh"...

As in,
"Good night Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight-aaaaagh"
"Goodnight Irene goodnight Irene-aaaaagh"
"I'l see you in my dreee-eams-aaaagh"

And the audience all join in, complete with "...aaaagh" at the end of each line.

The old blind man didn't get paid for playing the piano every Saturday night, instead the customers bought him a beer whenever his glass emptied - I've seen him drink twenty pints most Saturday night and still be playing the piano for beer at chucking out time, and the thing is a blind man walks home in a perfectly straight line because he has no blurred vision or halucinations to contend with.

Our favourite trick was to go and stand at the piano with him, get talking to him, commend him on his piano playing skills, gain his confidence...

...then move his beer off the piano top.

People always placed his beer in exactly the same place so that he always knew where it was and during the tunes he'd reach out automatically to the same spot every time for his glass, he could reach for the beer, drink a swig down and put the glass back without a break in the tune - unless we'd moved his glass.

If we'd moved his glass he'd stop playing and start feeling all the way along the piano top for it, people would notice he'd stop and strain to see what the problem was, they'd shout out to him enquiring why he'd stopped playing and he'd declare in a loud voice that some bas'tad had nicked his beer - we'd be in the pub over the road by this time though.

Creased me up every time it did, how childish.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


need I say more...