Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Private Widdle Social Club. Inaugural Meeting; Mr Foot's Royal visit to Deal.

Miss Pussy reduced the burly backstage boys to jelly with a glimpse of mangina, not shared by the audience...

Mr Paul Foot staked his claim and crowned himself new King of Deal (and Sandwich)

Ukelele Gangstas, frightened the horses with their talk of drive-by shootings: as hard-hitting and political as ever...

Hector, the Human Beatbox, a (not) surprise HIT of the evening.

Uncle Meat scared off the nans with their psycho-folk/punk...

Sara Pascoe charmed with a smile that concealed her dark centre...

Click to enlarge: photos © Peter Cocks and Laurence Burns

Private Widdle is delighted to announce that his first go up The Astor was a resounding success and, lubricated by Gadd's local ale, didn't hurt a bit.

The event sold out by close of play on Friday and tickets were changing hands around Union Street market on Saturday for as much as £11.50.

The talent came from far and wide...some from as far as Walmer, but Sara Pascoe and Mr Paul Foot even made it from Lon-Don, the big place at the very, very end of the seafront.

Uncle Meat and her Highway Children were reputed to have driven their magical bus from a place called Man-Chester, but few locals were convinced of the existence of such a place and thought they may have crawled out from under a stone, such was the state of their dishevellement on arrival.

Mr Paul Foot, or President Paul as he likes to be styled, arrived on the 3.14 (pm) from St Pancreas via Ashfag International and Ramsgatte. He was dressed, ready for semi-showbusiness, in his trademark grey leather bomber jacket, floral tie, pale grey hi-waisted (lightweight) gigging pants and silver brogues. He was met at Deal Station by Volvo limousine where the driver put his shopping trolley in the shooting brake.

The Deal Kazoo and Comb and Paper orchestra, who had been booked for his arrival, were still relaxing in The Railway Arms. They considered him a Lon-Don showbiz fop who would arrive fashionably late at 3.16. (am)
They were wrong.
Mr Foot is a punctual man.

Missing the reception committee, and having complained in a thespian fashion all the way on the 100 yard drive to theatre, Mr Foot was somewhat mollified by a visit to Deal's dedicated Golliwog shop, Mummery and Fudger. Mr Foot produced his own Golly from the shopping trolley and enquired of the lady manageress (Mrs.) whether she had another in his size.

Unfortunately, she only had the medium size in stock (Paul is a large Golly) at £12.99. She offered no trade discount.

Unable to buy a Golly in the correct size, Mr Foot was amused by the enamel golly badges available at Mummery and Fudger, particularly the Sikh Golly Badges and the Golly Robber and Golly Policeman.

The manageress, although denied a sale, was flattered by the visit of such a celebrity from Lon-Don and voiced her approval that Paul really understood Gollies. He even travels with his own.

"We get a lot of complaints," she said. "From middle class gaymen and lesbianists who troop down from Lon-Don in their chiffon scarves and comfortable shoes banging on about my Gollies not being correct, or something. They don't even live here," she said. I don't think she was talking about the Gollies by this point. She ignored the fact that second home-owning inverts, provide the much-needed pink finance that enables the smart end of the High Street to flourish with fish, cakey, caffe lattes and spray-free vegetables.

Mr Foot, although uncomfortable with the gushing endorsement from the lady, nodded his tacit agreement.

"In Deal, we call a Golly a Golly," she said. "I was born here. I've lived here all my life. A hundred years," as if qualifying her ownership and authority on Gollies, life, and Deal.

Back at the theatre, having discussed the running order at length for two minutes, written it down on a digestive biscuit (locally sourced, seasonal), Mr Paul Foot greeted the rest of the company: Paul Hendy, TV personality (Wheel of Fortune) author (Diary of a C-List Celeb) and pantomime mogul. Plus, Miss Pussy d'Amour; The Ukelele Gangstas; Will Greenham, the Smuggler's records impresario; Sara Pascoe (a friend of Mr Foot) and Jonathan the Piano - though strange, not a stranger, simply a friend who he had not yet met.

Pre-theatre supper was at Yon-Sea, a crumbling, Georgian money pit (owned by the author) on the High Street. Dinner was a local Deal speciality; Chilli-con-carne with fava beans and potatoes that had been baked - in the local style - in their skins. The meat was locally sourced from Rook's and the potatoes local from Sainsburys. All the assembled acts, now happily fed and belching the local chili sauce (Somerfield) returned for the theatre in a state of almost near excitement.

Sound checks done, a forty five minute call was given backstage, by me. Perhaps a little early, but I was nearly excited.
"Forty five minutes, boys and girls," I squeaked. "Overtures and beginners, please." I have no idea what it means, but I enjoyed the strange words tumbling from my mouth.

The lights were dimmed and , at 7.15, (pm) a quarter of an hour ahead of schedule, a platoon of local nans, all with their hair done, elbowed in and nabbed the best tables. A multiple 'nan event' was unexpected and not really caterered for by the Management (Paul and Me.) Special seats were reserved at ringside for local dignitaries and celebrities including Lord Justin de Villeneuve, the man who invented Twiggy and his lovely designer wife, Professor Sue Timney.

Also at ringside, freshly returned from filming with Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood and from having given her magnificent 'Helen' at the RSC and being David Tennant's mum in the 'Dr Who Hamlet', Penny Downie (Jr.) added fragrance and beauty to the assembly. Penny, a veteran of 'Prisoner Cell Block H' - and quite a honey - hotly followed by Deal's sapphic enclave, was not averse to throwing in the odd Australian heckle, much welcomed by Mr Foot who is a master of running with the off-the-cuff remark.

Local artist and family man, Mr Paul Claydon, gave Mr Foot his most challenging of heckles. Quoting the 'Sexual Pistols' he shouted 'Bollocks' quite a lot and enjoyed a two-way riff with Mr Foot. His lovely wife, 'Black' Dalziel Douglas, local entrepreneur and family woman was in the bar, with me, hiding and discussing the lighting.

Glamorous Lon-Don antiquarian, Mr Stephen Sprake and his delightful wife, Paul, added glamour and antiquarianism to the front row.
Mr Mark Hutchinson, Lon-Don PR supremo and fluffer to both Nigella Lawson and JK Rowling, was also at ringside, clearly on the lookout for more divas to fluff.

Did he find any?

Safe to say, the open spot was dominated by a blonde diva from the Belgian Congo, Miss Karin Jamotte, whose post-modernist, abstract interpretation of 'How Much is That Doggy in the Window?' had the crowd baying for more.

The other acts?
Reader, I am not a critic - and far too closely involved with Private Widdle to offer a dipassionate and objective viewpoint. However, I think it went jolly well, and the fat Sunday papers the following morning probably tell you all you need to know about property prices on the South Coast. I didn't read them, I never read notices.

One review, however, did sneak its way through to me via he-male, and I reprint it here in full in its original font and funky colourway:

I came to the cabaret evening yesterday, Saturday 19th June and while the entertainment was acceptable I am not sure the same can be said for compliance with the regulations regarding public safety.

I would be very interested to know how many people were allowed into the hall as compared to the numbers it is licensed for. Most village halls have a notice quite prominently displayed stating the capacity - I could find nothing on display last night. It certainly seemed very overcrowded with very little room available between tables and at least one of the fire exits blocked by the seating arrangements. I imagine a fire safety officer entering the main hall last night would have been very troubled by what he saw.

I wish the theatre well, it is really good to see it back in use and much improved and I hope it has a great future, professionally run and in compliance with all appropriate regulations.

Trevor Skelton
18a Harold Road

I would call that a RAVE review of 'acceptable entertainment', but I was tempted to tell him and his beige slacks to fuck right off and not come back, as a mark of respect for his free-wheeling, hippy world view. However, The Astor were on the phone to Mr. Hendy and myself by 6.00 (am) the following morning to call together another meeting of Private Widdle's Social Club in the near future. Proposed date. October 2nd. 2010. (Doors,7.30 (pm) )
As they say down here," Watch this space." Usually when they are trying to park their car outside the Golly Shop.

Coming soon: The Morning After Private Widdle's First more Social Club-related pictures.

This article did not appear in the Deal Mercury.

1 comment:

  1. A triumph, Maestro (and I'm not talking about old bangers)! Roll on October.