Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Handle & Dropkirk - by me at an unknown age

Clearing out under a bed back at Mum's house over Christmas 2015 we found a whole load of artwork, including Hev's work from art college and some comic strips by me that I've not seen for years. This was by far the earliest piece.

Though most work was from my late teens and student days, this one picture has survived, drawn and painted by me at an age I can't quite pin down. Because it references Randall and Hopkirk (which was on ITV from September 1969 to March 1970) and Star Trek (on BBC between July 1969 and December 1971) I'd say this is from 1970, making me 8 or 9 years old. However there was a 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea movie made by Disney in 1973, and I remember reading the comics version of it in Donald & Mickey comic, so if I'm referencing that, this would be from when I'm 11 years old. But I'd like to think I was better than this by then. We may never know.

Monday, 14 December 2015

The Sea Monster? - The Monkhouse Dec 2 1987

Who was The Sea Monster? It's almost as important a question as why was she in the support slot? Though I'm sure Mandy Knight was brilliant, that enigmatic Sea Monster was one of the funniest comedians any of us had ever seen and was to go on to greatness. If you don't know who she was, you may star guessing now. Answer below.

This was the Monkhouse Club's fourth monthly show, with Alan Seaman booking the acts and the two of us sharing the compering. Cathi Rae and Norman the Skiver were by now well established as regular local acts, and since none of us was yet above the level of open-mics, the two headline acts were really what people came to see. 

It wasn't our first Christmas show ever, as I've found records of us staging a Christmas special as long ago as 1985, when the show was still calling itself the Magazine Jokespace, but was the first under the Monkhouse brand. Here's that far-less prepossesing poster.

Black Annis in Pantomime and the Touch & Go Arts Co-Operative? Truly the 1980s were a foreign country, they did comedy clubs differently then. John Dull was the name of the character act Alan Seaman was doing, until he finally got round to just using his own name.

The Monkhouse name was my idea, spawned because we thought it sounded funny, and it paid ironic homage to Bob Monkhouse who, at that time, was deeply unfashionable but I think also strangely admired. The image of him comes from an ad in a 1950s Eagle comic. Since you ask.

And the Sea Monster was...?

Jo Brand. She worked under an alias for her early gigs because she was still holding down her job as a psychiatric nurse.