THE SONGS I’LL NEVER SING
THE SONGS I’LL NEVER SING is the title of my first solo show. I wrote it as my 50th birthday loomed into sight. It was an opportunity to look back at the paths I’d taken in life and how they had led me to where I am today; a chance to acknowledge that, as we age, there are some things we will never do again, maybe some things we didn’t do when we had the chance, and now the moment has passed. But also to recognise that there are more experiences up ahead if we’re open to them and that the only reason there are songs I’ll never sing is, there are simply too many to choose from.
It’s a stand-up show with elements of story-telling. There’s poetry, there’s a song, there’s some truly awful puns, and there’s a tiny bit of swearing, too.
I first performed the show at The Temple Bar, Brighton, as part of Laughing Horse’s Free Festival fringe of the Brighton Festival in May 2010, and was delighted to find audience members ranging in age from 18 to 80 (literally), who described it variously as “heartwarming”, “funny”, “touching”, and even “inspiring”, which was a lovely thing to hear. It’s not an Anthony Robbins lecture or anything, but it might reaffirm the importance of enjoying your life, I suppose
So far, it has avoided the attention of reviewers, although Stuart Laws, a comedian for whom I have the highest respect, was kind enough to write this on his blog (and I hadn’t asked or expected him to) after a recent preview of the latest, updated version of the show: http://stuchopslaws.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/the-jokes-ive-never-told/
Whereas I had initially expected to run the show a few times either side of my landmark birthday, I now feel there’s more to be done with this updated version, and a further updated version was performed at this year’s Brighton Fringe. The show has continued developing (and, I think, improving) during previews in June and July, so that I’m now delighted to be presenting it at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011.
I shall be updating this page as opportunities to perform the show present themselves. For now though, here’s a poem with which I open the show. It hints at some of the areas to come…
ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING
When I was 42 years and 9 months old,
I realised I’d lived longer than the king of rock’n’roll
That was several years ago; I’m now, let’s say, “over 49”
And I’m starting to realise the life Elvis had will never be mine
He drove a truck
I worked in a shop
He recorded for Sun
I got a job washing up
He played the Grand Ole Oprey!
I got a job in an open plan office!
Elvis never made it to England
I never made it to Vegas
Through the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s
He grew beyond limits then known
Through the 70’s and 80’s and 90’s
I saved for a comfortable home
Then, one hot raining night in ‘77
Elvis left the building, alone
I was 17, at a party
My parents didn’t know that I’d thrown
In their home
It was ’77! I was 17!
This was the peak of punk!
Sweaty kids throwing their bodies around
Swearing and angry and drunk
Bollocks had appeared on an album sleeve
The Pistols had sworn on TV
The whole world was changing and scary
Punk had been made just for me
Oh, yeah! I was a punk before you were a punk
I had a safety pin stuck in my heart
Patrik Fitzgerald was my Dylan
The Clash tore our whole world apart
John Peel played the music
Sounds showed me the scene
Even Paul Weller was punky back then
The Members, Ramones, Poly Styrene
We just never thought it could end
Rock Against Racism, Party In The Park,
Wreckless Eric, Albertos, Rezillos,
The Fabulous Poodles, The Adverts, The Rods,
The Damned and New Rose on Stiff Records
We had attitude and pride
We had teenage depression
Confusion and pain reigned supreme
We carried their scars like the badges of war
I CHANGED THE WORLD!
I bought God Save The Queen.
It was playing when I heard that Elvis had died
A gatecrasher told me when I asked why he cried
Next day in the paper, it was on the front page
Elvis is dead
Elvis is dead
But he had always been there
Right from the start
Was my first taste of rock
Without Elvis, no Beatles,
No Hendrix, no Punk,
No Specials, no 2-Tone, no Ska
Without Elvis, no basis for my generation
To grow into the people we are
As I grew older
The music felt colder
The lyrics had stopped being about me
I could no longer cry
Over songs about my life
There’s no punk song about being in your fifties.
and that’s sort of what the show’s about.
If you’d like to hear the title song, click here: The Songs I’ll Never Sing (Rycroft) performed by The Dash
And here’s a clip of a poem which is no longer in the show (so a sort of DVD Extra for you). It’s called The Punks Have All Got Fat And Old and it contains a couple of swear words, so don’t watch it if you might be offended. It’s performed by Brennan Reece:
You can see THE SONGS I’LL NEVER SING at:
THE EDINBURGHFESTIVAL FRINGE 2011
Laughing Horse @ The Beehive Inn, 18 Grassmarket,
Edinburgh EH1 2JU
Sunday 14th to Sunday 28th at 8.30pm
I don’t yet know whether I’ll be performing the show again after Edinburgh, but if that were to happen, further dates would be added here and on the ‘Forthcoming Gigs’ page.
If you manage to make it to the show, I’d love to know what you think of it. Do leave a comment here.
Original artwork on this page created especially for the show by Richard Barnes. Flyer design by Dan Cardwell. Photography by Natalie Ramsay