Lucky in Sicily
The first thing I did upon arrival at Hastings was step in a large pile of dog shit. These things happen from time to time and I always like to remember that having a bird crap on your head is considered highly lucky in Sicily. I am writing most of this ahead of the show as I will be up early tomorrow to drive home, so not much time to edit it.
My car (a fifteen year old Smart car) has done magnificently on this tour, since I was expecting it to die on me and, sadly, it will have to be traded in soon as we need two cars, me to tour in, and the other one (our Nissan) for my wife to get our daughter to school when I'm not here.
The band haven't played Hastings in at least ten years and I like it here - my wife was born in the town and after a bad few decades, it seems to be doing better and not be so dirty as it used to be. Our hotel has a nice view of the pier which was burnt down a couple of years ago and subsequently rebuilt.
I don't remember doing the show the last time we were, here but I have been to the theatre before.
For a long time in the late '80s early nineties I was obsessed by the singer Anthony Newley. Best known for his song 'What Kind of Fool Am I' he was a successful singer, actor and comedian in the early sixties, famously married to Joan Collins and a profound influence on David Bowie.
I first came to his music through a song called Overchewer all about the travails of an ageing Crooner getting to grips with modern life in '70s California (Will I ever learn to eat organic food? Listen in to Ravi Shankar in the nude?). I absolutely loved his lyrics - I subsequently found his album 'The Singer and his Songs', an obscure disco-ish album, never since rereleased, in a junk shop and was enthralled, particularly by his song The Man who Makes You Laugh (about comedians/sad clowns etc).
He was back in England in the early nineties and I remember going to see him in a pub in London doing a show, which was a bit of a come down, since he was such a huge star back in the sixties. Thinking about it now, he MUST have had money from royalties from his many successful songs, so maybe the performing was like scratching an itch - I know if I had to stop performing I'd miss it (even though I'm always moaning about it!).
Anyway, he was playing at the White Rock Theatre, where we are playing tonight, and I went down from London with a group of friends to check him out. It was a bit of a damp squib unfortunately, as it was raining, the theatre was half full of pensioners, Newley himself was accompanied by a drummer, bass player and about four sad looking synthesiser players, a sure sign that his agent was keeping costs down by not hiring an orchestra.
Part of the show was a Q&A session where audience members could write down questions which the Great Man would then respond to, reminisce and tell anecdotes. One of my friends quoted on his bit of paper, Newleys lyric from The Man who Makes You Laugh whereby he describes the audience as "the monster with a thousand eyes is waiting to be fed".
All these years later, I am ashamed to say that all of us laughed heartily when my friend wrote the question:
'What do you do when the monster with a thousand eyes, becomes the monster with a hundred eyes?'