Richard Rycroft's presence on the internet

adventures in acting & stand-up

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

Heartbreak Hotel

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

 

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