Broken Biscuits No.11.

Before I bang on about the night, let it be said that Yellow Arch Studios is a stunning venue right in the heart of Sheffield and it’s the bee’s bum; for performers and audience alike. Thanks to Ali Heath Cook for letting us do our thing and for the superb photos; to Sam, who made it all sound just so; to Nick and Spencer for helping us way beyond the call of duty and to all the staff: you made it a joy.

A little while back, Kate Tym suggested that my compering skills were, how shall we say, somewhat below par. She was totally wrong: they were shocking. Since then, we’ve had in a plethora of artists who really know how to work the house – Kate herself, Callum Hughes, Tim Suturist and this time around, the mighty Maynard Flip Flap. Blending street theatre flair with effortless authority, we knew we were in safe hands throughout. And if anyone thinks that being an MC is just a fill-in, then there’s the door: it’s a skill beyond language.

Billy Button is a multi-layered beast. His failed showman act is a hoot at one level, but then the pathos kicks in and we’re left with the kind of high usually reserved for Class A’s or extreme sports. It was hard choosing the right excerpt from his set, but Somebody kinda does the trick. Watch it a few times and I defy anyone to not melt. Billy, you are a hero.

Jenny Lockyer totally nailed it. She must have been at the front of the queue when they doled out talent: that voice, that guitar and boy, is she funny. Enjoy the moment she stops in her tracks when the audience fails to pick up the refrain; too good. And you could be forgiven for believing Bacharach and David wrote Magic Moments for her and her alone. Wonderful stuff.

Jenny Vegas managed to get her noggin into two Sheffield newspapers and bag a BBC radio interview for this one. She is fast becoming a force of nature, spurred on by unswerving self-belief, Lambrini spritzers and the bedrock of her manager Dougie; who runs a tight ship from his portakabin near Wombwell. God knows what we’ll do if her trajectory of fame continues – you should have seen her bloody rider!

Dan Laidler‘s Windy’s Farm made a welcome return to the North. No matter how many times we run it, people can’t help falling for him. And he’s a windmill, FFS! If only I’d known this in my twenties. Idle Eye managed to squeeze out a urine-themed set with the help of a couple of bewildered guests. Perhaps he thinks sixth form humour is clever and post-modern, but we’ve heard it all before and then we grew up. Good luck to him, though: you can’t kick a man when he’s down, can you?

Next up it’s Brighton Fringe! Three nights at The Bee’s Mouth (11-13 May) to try out material and showcase a few new friends, and then the big bertha finale at The Warren‘s Main House on 31st May. There’ll be event pages, posters, flyers and all sorts coming soon, but for now put these in your diaries. Thank you x

Broken Biscuits No.11.

Right, I’m going to post this today and terminate the faffery once and for all. Because it’s tomorrow, see? These endless half-arsed drafts are getting on me tits, and I’ve got more important things to sort out; like the barnet. So then, it’s going to be another top drawer show at Sheffield’s stunning Yellow Arch Studios with a proper quality line-up:

Somehow, that Jenny Vegas has wormed her way up to the top of the bill and managed to get her mugshot into the newspapers. Seriously, there is no end of front to the woman (her manager Dougie spotted this as well, I gather).

Once again, the absolutely brilliant Jenny Lockyer will be with us, if she can brave the M1 on a day like today. Always a joy to watch, with trademark acoustic guitar, a pitch-perfect voice and the gentlest yet most off-kilter sense of humour evah!

Then there’s Billy Button: although perhaps his halcyon days are now a distant memory, he still can astonish an audience with that gold lamé jacket and a toupee to die for. This is one consummate showman who ain’t lying down in a hurry!

Our compere, Maynard Flip Flap, will have a thing or two up his sleeve. Quite literally, perhaps. A stalwart of Sheffield’s legendary Cabaret Boom Boom, Maynard is blessed with the gift of the gab, street theatre nous and will, without doubt, rudder our kooky ship safely to shore.

Dan Laidler‘s Windy’s Farm is back, obvs. Whoever would have thought that a black and white windmill could spread so much joy throughout the land? And that bloody Idle Eye mosquito will be pitching in with something, I’d imagine. Please desist with this oxygen of publicity thing, it only encourages him.

And that’s about it. It’s going to be fun, this one. I know I always say this, but TBH I can’t think of anything else right now & it’s sunny out. Next up will be Fringe Brighton in May, more on that another time. Adios amigos x

Broken Biscuits No.8.

bb8_general

BB8 was the usual heady cocktail of madness, hilarity and confusion, only this time we had an angry poltergeist along for the party as well. Not that anyone heard or saw anything, mind, but she was definitely there. And it is a she; we checked.

David Farnan stepped in for James Cook (who sadly couldn’t be with us) at the eleventh hour, and knocked out a repertoire of effortless, self-penned acoustic swagger: with a vocal rasp that would have Liam Gallagher running for the hills. Lovely stuff!

Now here’s a challenge: I defy anyone to listen to the attached Jenny Lockyer song and not well up at the end. She has that rare ability to fuse humour and pathos in equal amounts, all mixed in with a touch of the surreal and a voice to die for. And I’m delighted to announce that she’ll be joining us yet again for a big show in April next year. More on that another time…

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a seasonal address from our very own Jenny Vegas. Unlike the politicians, she cuts through the crap and tells it like it is, all dressed up as a sexy Santa. This is how you get the word out, Theresa: think on it! Actually don’t (can you imagine?) In the meantime, we wish Cabernet Vegas all the very best in rehab, and let’s pull a collective cracker for little Chardonnay, whose tag gets removed in January. Huzzah!

As promised, Idle Eye also had a pop at something seasonal. No hats though, just a rather sad, out-of-character cameo as a Pizza Flyer Delivery Boy in the style of Alan Sillitoe. No jokes, neither. Because who wants them, FFS? There was some other stuff, but unless you were there (and let’s face it, you weren’t) there’s not a lot of point banging on about it. Wasn’t too bad, though.

Well, that’s it for 2016. It’s been a curious journey – from blog to book to the live shows – but I wouldn’t have it otherwise. I’ll write up one of those End of Year thingies after the Big One, but not until: I’ve got a £10 Majestic wine voucher that runs out today & I know where my priorities lie x

Broken Biscuits No.8.

broken-biscuits-bognor-flyer1_dec_djt_hires-1 broken-biscuits-bognor-flyer2_dec_djt_hires-2

Last show of the year, so get yer ya-ya’s out and head off to the coast again! This time it’s at Bognor Regis’s magnificent SeaFiSh, the brainchild of Sean Bw Parker (who has kindly agreed to compere the evening) and inexplicably under threat from Arun District Council. It’s a venue that embraces all forms of the arts and is very much a cultural hive, so to lose it to jobsworths would be nothing short of criminal. Sean has set up a crowdfunding page here to help with legal costs, so if you can help in any way, please do.

Jenny Vegas and Jenny Lockyer are back for this one (in a curious J² BOGOF deal), and James Cook is flying in specially from Berlin to be with us once again – it’s not often you get to write stuff like this. Windy will be getting a look in as well, and the grapevine informs me that there will be a Christmas address, so Idle Eye will be digging deep to find something appropriate to the season. I know, I know. There may even be hats, heaven preserve us! All in all, not a bad way to end a particularly gruelling 2016, so very much worth making the trip for (unless you’re travelling on Southern, in which case we salute you and will arrange in situ councelling as you leave the train).

Broken Biscuits 8 – Fortifying the over forties for tea. I thank you x

Broken Biscuits No.6.

bb6_general

And they just get better and better. Always lovely to do a gig in the manor but oh, Crystal Palace, you surpassed yourselves! Have a biscuit. Let’s break it down, because that’s what you know and love:

Sadly, Michael Legge couldn’t be with us for this one, but the unstoppable Jenny Vegas kindly agreed to take another day off her Bernard Matthews tour of Norfolk to join us once again. And this time, we got the full Manky Shanka, yes we did! God only knows how she manages to walk to Jobcentre Plus every morning.

Jenny Lockyer‘s hilarious, delicate and beautifully delivered songs ranged from a five-year-old’s wry observation of her mother’s appalling driving skills, to the quite brilliant Agnetta Askeholmen doing a ditty about a little dolphin and a magic fish; and anything in between. She’ll be joining us again in Bognor so if you missed this, for God’s sake get a train ticket now. Mmm, Southern.

Joe Duggan kicked off the evening leaving no stone unturned. I’ve tried to give a flavour of just how varied and powerful his work can be in the below edit, but to get the full hit you really need to be there in the flesh. He is blessed with not only the words, but also a voice that soothes on the one hand and kicks off with the other. An extraordinary talent.

Idle Eye went sonictastic for this one. Samples, vocal fx and not one but two wonderful guest speakers (Callum Hughes and Penny Capper) helped disguise shoddy writing and bullshit delivery from the main man. I’m seriously beginning to wonder why I continue to put on this utter no-mark; he’s a sad epitome of a waning talent, clinging onto the coat-tails of a rising star. Pathetic.

Next up, we’re back in lovely, lovely Hastings – 20th November at the newly restored Palace. Right on the seafront, right on the money. We’ll deliver, I swear to God. And if we don’t, Donald’s contact details follow below. Usually replies within 24 hours:

donaldrossskinner@notsurewhatsgoingonhere.co.uk

Broken Biscuits No.6.

broken-biscuits-antenna-flyer_oct_v3_hires-1 broken-biscuits-antenna-flyer_oct_v3_hires-2

I know I bang on about the respective BB line-ups a fair bit, but bloody hell, look at this one! This will be our third at leafy Crystal Palace’s fabulous Antenna Studios and sixth overall, so we’re pulling out all the stops:

Michael Legge, probably the most incandescent, sweary ambassador of our time, vegan killjoy and godlike comedy genius, will be treading the boards and slapping on the greasepaint. As if that isn’t enough, Jenny Lockyer, whose delightfully surreal characters have had me & Don (quite literally) wetting ourselves over the past few weeks, is up there too. Most probably with a guitar, to accompany her brilliant mind. And the magnificent Joe Duggan, without doubt Crystal Palace’s finest wordsmith, will try to pull us all back from the madness: tall order!

We’ve had the chat with Dan Laidler about Windy, who is fast becoming the unsung hero of these BB events, and we have it on good authority that more episodes are on their way. In the meantime, even if you’ve seen them before, give it up for what we already have . As our world slowly shrinks and the demons begin to take hold of the Free West, it’s comforting to know that a little black and white windmill and a Spanish tractor driver can make a difference.

That’s it for now. Hope to see some of you there on the 29th, but for those who can’t make it, we have two more shows before the year is out: 20th November at the newly restored Palace in Hastings, and finally at Bognor Regis’s fantastic SeaFiSh on the 15th December. Don said that if you come to both, he’ll play World Shut Your Mouth to your Nan on Christmas Eve at a venue of your choice. Naked…x