Thursday, 16 February 2017

Arnold, Dull & PC Bharsted - Leicester March 1986

Before The Monkhouse Comedy Club came to be, Alan and I had started our stand up comedy careers at its predecessor, The Magazine Jokespace. Here we shared the bill with Arnold Bolt and the mysterious Comedy Counts in a one-off gig in March 1986.

If memory serves, The Comedy Counts were a very young Anthony King, now a stalwart of the comedy scene, still based in Leicester, and a double-act colleague about whom I'm sure he'll tell us more.

Arnold Bolt was a legend of the Leicester Folk Scene at the start of the 80s, and made a successful crossover into the comedy clubs that usurped the folk clubs' place (and, as we can see, shared their venues). Sadly Arnold, or rather his civilian alter-ego Martin Brown, died last year dreadfully young. For as long as our Leicester comedy clubs were around, he was always a headliner, never anything less. Memorable comedy songs such as Henry The Hedgehog and Dumped In Mary Lou's Barn were the staples of his set, and will live on in Leicester folk comedy history.

John Dull was Alan's alter ego, as character comedy was very much the order of the day for both of us. Given that Alan's surname is Seaman, you wouldn't have thought he needed any extra enhancement, but his character of a boring accountant worked very well at the time and lasted for a while.

My character, as you might be able to make out from the photo, was PC Bharsted, a caricature policeman. It was the 1980s, and doing a feeble impersonation of Griff Rhys Jones's policeman character from Not The 9 O'Clock News, with songs, seemed as good a way to start doing comedy as any. My songs, as PC B, included I Had To Nick My Girlfriend, a cover of The Goodies' Rock With A Policeman, and Driving In A Winter Wonderland. Tragically no recordings survive of this musical comedy act which, given the standard of both my singing and my guitar playing, deserves inverted commas round both of those words.


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