100 Club, London
April 26, 2009

by
Simon Hickson

I’m reading Renegade; The Lives and tales of Mark E. Smith at the mo and it’s a right old read. The Fall; a band that’s had 10,000 members, all hired and fired by Prestwich’s finest living man. Ok, some of them walked, but they don’t count. I haven’t got a clue what The Fall are on about most of the time, but that’s ok by me. It takes me about 20 years on average to get to grips with lyrics. The sound comes first and then maybe later I’ll fill in some gaps. Or not bother. Yes, not bother. if I just want words I’ll buy a book. That’s what I did with Renegade and it’s a book that won’t shut up.

So, that’s a long roundabout way to get to the Nightingales. I’ve never known of them, but they’ve been around a bit, and over the years they’ve hobnobbed with The Fall. That’s it. That’s the connection. I think Mark E. Smith may like the Nightingales; may even be friends with Robert Lloyd, the band’s singer and songwriter. But then again…

Watch
this and read this and see where you are. I know this; Mark E. Smith always makes me think of my Uncle Ken. I’m not sure why. Something to do with pubs in Prestwich.

So, last night I went along with Ben Norris to see The Nightingales. Although we were firstly there to see the support to the support to the support, David Cronenberg’s Wife. See them sing
My Best Friend’s Going out with a Girl I Like.

The support to the support have gone from my mind, but the support was the marvellous and wilfully perverse Ted Chippington, a comedian who does his best to make an audience, well, angry. A comedian reading from notes, in German… or Russian, or Polish. I don’t know. A comedian who calls out for subject matter from the audience and then refuses to make a joke out of it.

When me and Trev started doing comedy in 1982 as The DevilfishhornClub we used to tell these “jokes”.
Joke 1. My dog’s got no nose. How does he smell? He can’t, he’s got no nose.
Joke 2. Have you seen my mother-in-law? No, course you haven’t. I’m not even married.
Joke 3. Doctor, doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains. You need to see apsychiatrist, you’re obviously mentally ill.
And so on. You get the idea. Anti-jokes. Then we got into kids tv and had to start smiling and pointing at each other on publicity cards.

I think we were maybe a little Chippington-esque. We certainly did enough hard gigs supporting local bands at the International in Rusholme. We even attempted comedy at the Hacienda, along with the Buzzcocks and the Redskins at a Lesbians and Gays support the Miners gig. Now there’s a combo-title you don’t see too often these days.

Anyways, I’m going off the point. Ted Chippington was great and awful, good and bad. Stewart Lee and his wife were there and me and Ben said hello. I muttered somethig inane about how his current show, The Stewart Lee Comedy Vehicle (BBC2), has had me laughing out loud. I’m a fan, and as a fan can’t help acting like a fan. He was very gracious about it. And like Ted, Stewart will push his audience, taking a joke as far as he possibly can, taking it all the way around the world until it comes back at you, anti-funny. And funnier. I wanted to find Stewart Lee talking about the rappers but couldn’t so have a look at him taking on
Joe Pasquale in this great clip. Then, for a treat, watch Stewart Lee track down Ted Chippington.
I know. That’s a lot to make you watch. If you choose one item from the above links choose Stewart Lee does Joe Pasquale.
A Nightingale Sang In The 100 Club
The Nightingales
View Simon Hickson's blog here: http://simonhickson.wordpress.com