Thursday, 9 February 2017

Thick Skin - not required for this review!

Below is a copy of the review you'll find when you click on after the first night last night.

There are performances tonight, tomorrow and Saturday so pop along to Balham and see for yourself.


Feb 9, 2017
THICK SKIN by Caitlin Mcewan
Director: Ellie Gauge Producer: Jospehine Langdon
Presented by Poor Michelle Theatre Company
Theatre N16, Balham
8th-11th February 2017
‘A play that challenges the epidemic of irreverence, in a quietly funny and...
THICK SKIN by Caitlin McEwan
Director: Ellie Gauge Producer: Jospehine Langdon
Presented by Poor Michelle Theatre Company
Theatre N16, Balham
8th-11th February 2017 
‘A play that challenges the epidemic of irreverence, in a quietly funny and understated way.’

From the same company that produced ‘Harry’, Poor Michelle’s latest offering casts it’s net back into the millennial pool of frustration and fear to bring us ‘Thick Skin’.

With a minimal set, four stools and two mic stands, the audience enter to a BeyoncĂ© track, a nice touch considering the company take their name from the 3rd, least well known Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams. The play begins with a stand-up routine about the race of Jess’ previous boyfriend; he was “Asian” she says, covering the mic up as she says the word. From there the audience is taken through a montage of conversations, anecdotes, arguments and songs.

Each character is tackling their own personal problem; Jess is a struggling stand-up comedian who seems to joke almost exclusively at the cost of others, Peter’s making a documentary about his new mixed-race girlfriend Naomi but blurs the lines between facilitating and dominating, and Ollie is feeling old at 25 and hates his job in ‘client service’ (he doesn’t really know what it is either).

One scene stood out, between Ollie and Jess, who strike up a conversation on the night bus home after Jess hears Ollie listening to ‘Thick Skin’ by Sia. After deciding the reason they like her is because she’s an enigma, and basically ‘just a big fringe’. Their conversation evolves into an endearing and comic exchange about their lives. Safe in the knowledge that they’ll probably never see each other again they share some of their secrets and fears.

Public transport plays an important part in the play; the average commuting time to get to work in London is 55 minutes. That’s minimum 5 hours a week, not including all the other times pubic transport is used to get around. God forbid, someone tries to strike up conversation, right? Thick Skin challenges that pre-conception in this small sweet scene. Later in the play Ollie goes on to describe how he stopped taking public transport when people started to stare at him, and flinch when he put his bag down. An important and painful observation about assumption in our society today.

The play as a whole was a bit like a puzzle, being filled in piece by piece, and at the end you can stand back and admire the whole thing. The actors could do with throwing themselves into it a bit more, but I’m sure these are only nerves and minor teething problems, it’s certainly worth a watch. Ultimately, Thick Skin is a play that challenges the epidemic of irreverence, in a quietly funny and understated way.

Get your tickets here –

Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Royal Dick VET - Summerhall

How happy was I with the Tempranillo. Smooth, vanilla shit going on and  superb. The interview with Malcolm Ross was conducted in the iron building at the left - I digress, this venue is superb, please use it!

Friday, 3 February 2017

The Last Post - Circus of Hell again!

Its "loose on you" again with a film track showing the band's early promise during the DUM DUM boys phase before going on to the Hell raisers you hear - a full 40 seconds of menacing mayhem!

GO JO! GO JO!............The chant in the TSB races on.........

United State of Saxophony - The Very Thing

At 54 years of age its hard to get excited about "Conventionality" but I have enough of a memory to know the pressures that always exist to adhere to convention. As you all know, we are creatures of habit, we like the conventions we like and we find ourselves at polar opposites to Trump supporters, brexiteers, pro life campaigners, creationists, Fox news supporters and knuckle draggers or dusters. Personally I still support smokers even though I'm 10 years in remission I still like to inhale when I pass anyone smoking a DUMA roll up but please take your Marlboro and do a Monochrome Set and ....oops, lost it again, smile, do a Monochrome Set and smile! Some people like to carry guns, they like to....oops, I was going there again, my point is caller, that I believe the USA should shrink. The 250 million who never voted for TRUMP should create The United States of Saxophonists. It would be like FDR's new DEAL. Build your own Saxophone. They would have to get the metal, so many parts in 250 million Saxophones and possibly even melt down some guns to provide the metal. It would be like Mao Tse Tung and the melting of woks, except that instead of starving the people the USSax would actually stop them killing each other.......

Red to Blue - Strawberry Tarts

Yo DJ Fat Al on the DBVID controls tonight. Strawberry Tarts sing about the polar opposites of the political system in 1983 and all I do is focus on the colour of the tape recording buttons. Was it crass insensitivity, Mushrooms or the priceless anarchic lunacy of childhood, you decide as the 28 seconds unfolds on your late night bus home tonight

NEXT WEEK - Wednesday February 8-11th in London - Beautiful Balham


Thick Skin / Scratch / Harry / Galentines Gala

Wed 08 Feb
A Triple bill from Poor Michelle
Hot on the heels of their 2016 success 'Harry'… 
Before you get excited, it's just the girls. The One Direction lads are still on their 'break', pursuing solo careers, having babies, and starring in upcoming Hollywood Blockbusters (apparently some people are 'too good' for fringe theatres. Whatever). 
  • First thing's first, their NEW SHOW. It's called THICK SKIN.
  • Secondly, a delicious Friday night post show scratch
  • And to top things off, for one night only HARRY IS BACK. And what with it being so close to everyone's favourite romantic/depressing day of the year, we are putting a Poor Michelle spin on proceedings by hosting a GALENTINES GALA full of fun, games, and booze. Lots of booze. 

Weds 8th - Thurs 9th February 9pm THICK SKIN (Preview) 
Fri 10th  7:30pm THICK SKIN, 9pm SCRATCH 
Sat 11th 7:30pm THICK SKIN, 9pm HARRY, 10:30pm GALENTINES GALA 
Tickets: £10 Previews, £12.50 
£16 Gala Ticket (for both shows)
Plus a pay-what-you-want for the Friday scratch and the Galentines Gala! 

The Bedford, 77 Bedford Hill, London, SW12 9HD, United Kingdom
Use Line-Up for online ticket sales

Who's that Girl?

August 1983 saw Deadbeat #17 - the issue with the flexi disc supplied by pop wallpaper and the Wild Indians and in that issue we announced the first Deadbeat tape with bands from around Scotland. You can hear the tape on the link and if you want to go to discogs you'll find more on the flexi disc and the bands on the tape. In the montage below I've put a couple of those singles that populate the drawers of the Deadbeat cabinets. The Wee Cherubs and Pride. What I want to know is, to quote Annie Lennox, "Who's that Girl?" I'm guessing she'll be 35-40 now. Someone out there must know! Gordon Ross was the photographer and the single was recorded at Park Lane Studios. Surely a perfect song to play at her 40th birthday party!

"Metropolis" - Burlesque - DB1 1983

Some swirling keyboards now from Edinburgh based Burlesque as they pump out Metropolis to all those fans at the Bowie nights, from the Bobby McGees days. The lyrics have a huge sense of irony now as Manhattan may not be the place where Liberty resides for must longer although I do agree the stories may just be make believe!

DB1 - the link to the tape - Thanks Stuart

Singing Sensations - Sunset Gun #17

Sunset Gun - "Influence of Love" - DB1

The superb Rutkowski sisters, singing a snippet on the first Deadbeat Tape in 1983. I was transfixed when I watched them live. The recording of a recording does nothing for the sound quality but you cant hide the quality of the voices. They also recorded "Rescue Me" during this visit to the studio and gave us that track as well for the tape. Its simply superb as many of you who have DB1 will have heard.

The interview is from #17 and there's a review from #19 below. I remember the gig more fondly than good time charlie reviewed it. At the time there were a lot of gigs like it where they were half showcase half gig. The Bowie night was on and some maitre-d would introduce acts to do 4-5 songs for our entertainment, but actually, it was for the 3 guys from the labels lurking at the back.

A link to hear the full recording of that tape is available at as mentioned elsewhere on the blog.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Days of long shadows - Burlesque DB tape 1 - 1983

Vinny casts a Fat Al shadow as Burlesque sing about long shadows. A good song with swirling keyboards and just a hint of Simple Minds influence in the production. I'm guessing it was done at Wilf Smarties' studios but I cant recall. Its a song that goes through my head when I'm on the camino (fatal-bananas.blogspot) as long shadows is what its all about. Listen for yourself and read the band's interview in #16 when they talk about Pipers, Bobby McGees, being the band that played on Bowie night and what they think of Simple Minds.

Favourite tracks from archive Deadbeat Tapes

Its like Wacky Races here at the Deadbeat consul today. Dundee's Circus of Hell, have just nipped in front of the Dancing Bears, but Arbroath's Pulsebeat Plus and Glasgow's Rhythm System are right on their tail too. The sound of 83 v 84!

Also noteworthy as Deadbeat meanders towards 30,000 the website visitors will surpass the Fanzine purchasers soon. Distribution made easy, it wasn't like this in the 80's, back then it was all bus fares and walking, humphing sacks like a reindeerless Santa.

I think we sold about 2000 issues from 16 onwards and issue 4-8 we only printed 500. For a rainman like me I better go add them all up and then we can have another..... celebration. I'm thinking we probably sold about 40,000 issues in total over the 3-4 years.