With his Keep What’s Left and Sharecropper’s Whine albums among the favourites of thousands of Americana addicts, news that Drew Landry was to play two Scottish dates delighted his fans and Martin Raitt’s fledgling Almost Blue Promotions was sufficiently on the ball to secure Landry for the intimate upstairs bar of the Lampie. David Innes took it all in.
Accompanied only by his six string and a percussive left foot, Landry demonstrated over two hours why his authenticity as a Louisiana bluesman saw Keep What’s Left described as ‘The equivalent to Lomax’s field recordings for the 21st Century’.
His voice careworn and resonant, his phrasing dynamic and pointed we were taken on a trip through medicine shows, jailhouses, rodeos, personal loss and ‘gator hunts.
The loch which gave the street at the rear of the Lampie its name is long gone, but Landry brought the swamp back, if only temporarily, blurring the lines between Leadbelly, Tony Joe White, Hank Williams and John Lee Hooker, who wrote the really Great American Songbook.
Landry has no set list. He asks if we want to hear a country song or a blues, perhaps a folk song. He was happy to play ‘BP Blues’ on request, prefacing the simmering attack on corporate greed by describing the shrug at loss of life and destruction of the Gulf of Mexico environment.
Describing the state of American politics as, ‘The same as it is all over the world. Crap’, Landry railed at the post-9/11 surveillance, paranoia and restrictions on freedom before treating us to a resigned and weary ‘Conspiracy Theory’. He warned us in an extended 8-minute ‘Juvenile Delinquent’, reminiscent in its insistence and attack of Van Morrison’s memorable existential rambles, that ‘we’re only one bad night away from being in the penitentiary’.
When it gets personal, ‘Lil Sister’, his cathartic reaction to harrowing family tragedy, is received with rapt, respectful silence and more than a few moist eyes and perceptible audience hard-swallowing. This ability to make the personal universal probably sums up Drew Landry’s great appeal as a writer and performer. It was a privilege to share his company.
The welcome return of Patrick Duff to the Silver City is upon us. On the 8th of October, The Blue Lamp once again plays host to one of the remarkable singer/songwriters of our times. Furthermore, Craig John Davidson has proven a perfect support to Patrick’s set on more than one occasion in 2013, notably in Bristol last month. Esther Green writes.
Last April in Aberdeen, the setting proved ideal for this solo show: candle-lit, cavernous, calm. Patrick delighted the Blue Lamp audience members with tales from his varied and fascinating life and travels, as well as stunning them into silence as they absorbed his beautifully-crafted, deeply personal songs.
It’s a scene familiar to his ever-growing band of followers and friends: the poet singing boldly into the barely-lit gloom, into what Patrick himself has described as the “pin-drop atmosphere.”
Nevertheless, each gig is a unique event. Patrick is an accomplished craftsman on the stage, gauging crowd reaction and always managing to find something new to excite, to make the night one to remember.
Patrick’s links with Aberdeen have been consolidated through his friendship with local singer/songwriter Craig John Davidson, of Fat Hippy Records. The two met at The Blue Lamp at the April gig and each instantly found a kindred spirit in the other. This friendship and their complementary musical virtuosity guarantee another incredible night on the 8th of October.
In July, his Visions of the Underworld LP was released via pledgemusic.com. Patrick is currently personalising the orders for this vinyl and download release.
A short Scottish tour featuring both Patrick and Craig, based around the Aberdeen gig, is being confirmed at the time of writing.
Patrick has been touring the UK for most of 2013 and continues successfully to tour Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. He is currently the subject of a documentary, charting his musical voyage.
A South American musician who is due to play in Aberdeen next week has unwittingly set off an unprecedented clamour for concert tickets in a tiny hamlet in Somerset. Thanks to Brookfield-Knights.
Venezuelan pianist Leo Blanco, who was a major hit when he played Aberdeen Jazz Festival in 2007, had never heard of Broomfield before it appeared on a tour schedule sent to him by his British agent.
Then messages started arriving via his website, asking if there was any way he could personally arrange to supply tickets for his concert on July 6 as it had sold out, or if he had plans to play in the West Country again in the future.
“We hadn’t heard of Broomfield ourselves,” says Loudon Temple of Brookfield-Knights, organisers of Blanco’s current tour. “We were put in touch with a promoter called Music on the Quantocks who had never presented jazz before, but had had some success with concert pianists, chamber music and light opera and liked the idea of a Venezuelan pianist coming to the local village hall to play a solo concert. They sold out Leo’s date in about 48 hours.”
Music on the Quantocks uses no posters or leaflets in its promotions. Everything is done by electronic media and word of mouth and it seems that people hearing about Blanco’s Somerset gig and sharing links to YouTube clips led to his Broomfield visit becoming a must-see locally.
“Leo’s still building a reputation in the UK and isn’t signed to a major record company, and we certainly weren’t aware of any big pockets of fans in Somerset,” Temple continued, “But there are plenty of really good films of him available on YouTube and I think that’s helped in this situation. It shows that musicians can create a demand for their music just through the music itself.”
Constant requests for Blanco tickets eventually led to Music on the Quantocks adding an extra concert the following night, Sunday July 7. It also sold out within 48 hours and Blanco now faces the distinction of playing to five times the population of Broomfield over two nights.
Peter Lewis of Music on the Quantocks admitted:
“The demand for tickets took us by surprise – pleasantly – and we’re now looking forward to welcoming Leo down here for the weekend. Everyone’s talking about it.”
A spokesperson for Jazz at the Blue Lamp, where Blanco is appearing next Thursday (27 June), confirmed that there are still tickets available for the Aberdeen concert.
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If the world doesn’t end on 21st December, then Christmas and New Year are right around the corner.
Why not spend your Hogmanay at the Hogmanay Hootenanny?
The Hogmanay Hootenanny stars Smokin’ Catfish, Catford, The Jellyman’s Daughter, and is Monday 31st December 8.30pm till late at The Blue Lamp, Gallowgate .
The entry fee is £15.
Smokin’ Catfish – local 5-piece bluegrass outlaws Smokin’ Catfish have been surprising audiences in Aberdeen since summer 2008 with their stunning harmonies and foot-stomping live performances.
This traditional bluegrass line up with its inbuilt rock ‘n’ roll attitude will wear out your dancing shoes in an explosion of high-octane, string-pickin’ fun.
Catford play songs with an emphasis on creamy vocal harmonies, textured rhythms, vivid melodies, and all underpinned by great musicianship and packed with soul.
This recently-formed band of four diverse multi-instrumentalists – hailing from the North-East of Scotland – blend American and Scottish folk influences with rhythms borrowed from across the globe to create a potent mix that sets them apart. Featuring local singer/songwriters Steve Crawford and Davy Cattanach, augmented by the amazing Jonny Hardie (Old Blind Dogs) and local multi-instrumentalist Pete Coutts
The Jellyman’s Daughter are a unique new duo from Edinburgh. Their interweaving vocal harmonies are complimented by an interesting mix of cello and acoustic guitar. One of the distinguishing features of The Jellyman’s Daughter is the innovative rhythmic style of cello playing providing a catchy percussive backbeat to some of their songs, contrasted by the intimacy of others.
‘Such a night….’ sang New Orleans giant of voodoo, Dr John. Indeed it was. Voice’s David Innes reports from The Blue Lamp where The Night Tripper’s fellow Crescent Citizens Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns sang, blew, rattled and Lindy-hopped their way into a packed Lampie’s hearts.
The loch that gave the street behind the Gallowgate its name is long gone, yet it seemed that a little of Lake Ponchartrain’s warm muddy waters had seeped through the antique brickwork of a beloved venue that has seen its fair share of memorable shows. This was among the best.
Sandwiched between a rousing swing opening treatment of Miss Otis Regrets and a hectic, passionate encore Hey Good Lookin’ – Hank sure never done it this way – was a mesmeric aural and visual performance of blues, swing, jazz and a dozen minor genre request stops on the way.
Meschiya’s presence is remarkable. Surrounded by a band of stellar players, all eyes are drawn to her. Yet there are no shape-throwing histrionics; her visual and vocal dominance alone fill and control the room.
She has a voice of considerable power, but it is not all gritty blues shouting, although Electric Chair Blues was a particular highlight. She croons, purrs, testifies and, in Lucky Devil, confides, ‘I am no angel, my wings have been clipped…I’d like to burn with you’. I suspect that this is what Julia Lee shows were like.
And the Little Big Horns? These are remarkable players, all seated but leader and sousaphonist Jason Jurzak, who wore his instrument like a boa constrictor, its halo-like horn offering an alternative visual attraction as it towered leviathan-like over the band, its operator blowing bottom end tones as a subterranean bedrock.
Whilst trumpet, saxophone, clarinet and acoustic guitar enmeshed as accompaniment for Meschiya, they each took regular passionate diaphragm and finger-straining solos. These are artists at the top of their game and visibly savouring every joyous moment.
Out front, Lindy Hoppers Chance Bushman and Amy Johnson jived and jitterbugged, tapped, strutted and danced what looked like sensuous-heavy variations of the tango, occasionally bringing in the singer who demonstrated that her feet are as talented as her larynx. This wasn’t a gig, it was a show, a monstrous show.
That the normal placid Aberdeen audience roared its appreciation gives measure of the reception this ensemble demanded and which seemed genuinely to astound them. Trumpeter Ben Polcer asked, in obvious bewilderment at one inter-song reception, ‘Are you ALWAYS this fired up on a Tuesday night?’ It wasn’t quite Mardi Gras, but it was Mardi, Ben.
When Meschiya Lake and The Little Big Horns flew in from Louisiana for their first ever UK tour earlier in 2012, they confirmed their reputation as one of the hottest acts on the American roots music circuit, playing to capacity audiences everywhere they went. With thanks to Loudon Temple.
During Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival, a thousand revellers turned out at the band’s Old Fruitmarket show. Reviewing their gig at London’s Dingwalls, Rachel Devine told readers of R2 magazine this was:
“one of the most entertaining live bands on the planet.”
Radio 3presenter Mary Ann Kennedy said they were:
“One of the big hits of this year’s Celtic Connections,” adding “they just set the festival alight.”
And, after filming footage for their new series in New Orleans, The Hairy Bikersdescribed the band’s music as:
“Prozac for the soul!”
No doubt audience curiosity was aroused by the 2011 album Lucky Devil which received glowing reviews on its UK release, although the live shows are even more flamboyant and exciting.
Local connoisseurs can see what’s causing such fuss when Meschiya takes her band to The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen on September 4. She will be accompanied, as she was earlier this year, by Chance Bushman and Amy Johnston, two of the world’s top Lindy Hop exhibition dancers, who tour the globe to participate in major competition events and dance camps from Brazil and Canada to Scandinavia.
Meschiya says she and her highly entertaining entourage are excited to be heading for Aberdeen.
“We have good friends, among them The Wilders and The Wiyos, each of whom have played Aberdeen in the past and they tell us that we can look forward to one of the best audiences Scotland has to offer.We love nothing better than to be turning it on for an enthusiastic crowd and we’ll make sure that everyone has a ball.”
As for The Hairy Bikers, there was never any question that they would enjoy Meschiya Lake and The Little Big Horns’ music and sassy style. On a recording recent visit to New Orleans, they headed straight to The Spotted Cat in the Big Easy’s French Quarter to film the band in action and have a chat with Meschiya.
You’ll see the outcome when the new series is screened from 19th August (8pm) on the Good Food Channel, Meschiya was named Female Performer of The Year in the 2011 Big Easy Music Awards and repeated this success in 2012. A new album is being released later this year.
UK Tour 2012
Wed Aug 29: The Buccleuch Centre, Langholm
Thurs Aug 30: The Tolbooth, Stirling
Fri Aug 31: Eastgate Theatre, Peebles
Sat Sept 1: Brookfield Hall, Renfrewshire
Sun Sept 2: Stereo, Glasgow
Mon Sept 3: Douglas Robertson’s Studio, Edinburgh Tues Sept 4: The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen Wed Sept 5: Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
Thurs Sept 6: Heart of Hawick,
Fri Sept 7: ARC Arts Centre, Stockton on Tees
Sat Sept 8: Selby Town Hall
Sun Sept 9: Gateshead Town Hall www.bloodygreatpr.com www.brookfield-knights.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnYEITZ-hbs
Aberdeen Against Austerity’s ‘Summer Series’ of talks and film showings continues this Friday with a presentation by Hannah Knight entitled ‘Animal Rights and the Philosophy that Underpins it’. This will be number 2 in a series of 5 talks organised this Summer to explore radical and alternative ideas, lifestyles and histories.
All talks will be free (donations accepted) and will take place in The Blue Lamp (upstairs) at 7.30pm.
The Program is as follows -
‘The Philosophy of Animal Rights’ followedby ‘The Animals Film’
‘Energy:TheImpactofBigBiomass’ and film TBC
‘Feminism101’ followedby TBC
‘Aberdeen Against Apartheid: From Johannesburg to Jerusalem’
Short talks plus discussion:
Tommy Campbell (Leader of Unite the Union Aberdeen)
Fiona Napier (Chair of SPSC Aberdeen)
Dave Black (Stop the JNF UK)
Karolin Hijazi (‘Welcome to Palestine’ participant)
Stuart Maltman (SPSC Aberdeen)
When you count ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris as a fan, it’s safe to assume there’s something very interesting happening, Loudon Temple tells Voice, as Hillfolk Noir prepare to storm the Gallowgate.
The former Old Grey Whistle Test figurehead and BBC Radio 2 presenter nailed his colours firmly to the mast when he discovered Hillfolk Noir earlier this year and went on to play tracks from the band’s ninth album, Radio Hour, over and over.
But Bob went one step further and told listeners to his show that he couldn’t wait for the four-piece from Boise, Idaho to arrive here for their first ever UK tour.
‘They’re amazing’, he said, ‘And I can’t wait to see them onstage.’
He’s not alone, as an army of UK fans have been urging the band to tour here ever since their last album, Skinny Mammy’s Revenge, was released to widespread acclaim.
They are one of the hardest-working bands on the US roots music circuit and have built themselves a huge Stateside following playing what has been described as music ‘filtered through a country-tinged, swampy-swingin’, hillbilly-delta-blues-ragtime word machine’.
Hillfolk Noir were widely recognised as one of the outstanding highlights at this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas and Skinny Mammy’s Revenge established them as a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the Atlantic.
Americana UK writer Paul Kerr told readers it was ‘a delight’, and added:
‘Hillfolk Noir manage to capture the essence of American music in spades.’
Hillfolk Noir arrive in the UK with a brand new CD that’s been winning them even more praise. But which venue will Bob Harris favour with his company?
Band leader and main songwriter Travis Ward said:
‘Yes, of course, it’s completely and utterly amazing to have someone like Bob Harris on your side. But, the reaction from the UK press in general terms has been very encouraging and we are pretty excited to be embarking on our first ever tour here.
‘We basically make the music for ourselves because we love it; we are having a great time and hopefully that is infectious. We sing and play our guts out – every song.
‘It’s particularly great to be playing The Blue Lamp as we’ve heard from our good friends, The Wiyos and Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three, that they always had a great time there with an audience that likes its old-time Americana, and particularly when it has a quirky rather than straight-down-the-middle edge to it.
“Sounds like they get in party mood and that suits us fine!’
Others have commented:
‘It’s a swampy, bluesgrassy, gospel-tinged, Depression-era prayer meeting medicine show of warped ragtime delta hillbilly blues/folk/country…or something like that’. Nick Churchill, FATEA magazine
‘One of the most incredible bands’. Seattle Weekly
‘This is roots music with attitude’. R2 (Rock ‘n’ Reel)
‘Extraordinary 21st century old-time music’. American roots UK
Hillfolk Noir Scottish dates:
FRI JUNE 1: .
SUN JUNE 3: .
TUES JUNE 5: .
WED JUNE 6: .
THURS JUNE 7: .
FRI JUNE 8: .
SAT JUNE 9: .
SUN JUNE 10: .
TUES JUNE 12: .
WED JUNE 13: .
THUR JUNE 14:
Birnam Arts, BIRNAM, by Dunkeld. .
Memorial Institute, MONIAIVE. .
The Old Library, KILBARCHAN. .
Douglas Robertson’s Studio, EDINBURGH. .
Woodlands Hotel, BROUGHTY FERRY. .
The Blue Lamp,ABERDEEN. .
Eden Court Theatre, INVERNESS. .
The Catstrand Arts Centre, NEW GALLOWAY. .
Stereo, GLASGOW. .
Eastgate Theatre, PEEBLES. .
Acoustic Music Club, KIRKCALDY.
Last week’s Voice featured Aberdeen entertainment iconSid Ozalid, his life, his act, his impact, the release of his new book, and news of ‘not to be missed’ performances in the city. Well, If you did happen to miss out on catching Sid live on Friday and Saturday, then fash yersel not – this week we present a brief account of the missed mayhem, and a poem from ‘Mr Elastic Brain’.
Sid Ozalid jetted in from Sunny Amsterdam last Friday for a whistle stop tour of Aberdeen to promote his fab new book ‘Mr Elastic Brain – The Life and Poems of Sid Ozalid’.
The previous week he had done three gigs in London and the week before that three gigs in Holland, so he was keen to make it a hat trick and do three gigs in Aberdeen.
This meant two gigs on Friday night and a book signing/performance at 1UP on the Sat afternoon.
Below - Sid Ozalid performs ‘Tartan Underpants’ accompanied by Dave McLeod.
Lots of people made one gig, a few brave people made it along to two gigs, but apart from Sid and his lovely wife only one person made it to all three: a Mr Colin MacLean who had driven up from the Kingdom of Fife to see Sid after an absence of 26 years.
Colin and Sid had performed together in 1977 in one of Aberdeen’s first punk bands, ‘The Enormous Snakes,’ and Colin had gone on to work with Sid as one of his All-Stars over a number of years, taking in the Edinburgh Festival and supporting The Clash at Inverness Ice Rink.
The first two gigs sizzled with professionalism, wit and dancing. The 24 year-old MC at Geesalaff Comedy Night, Miss Anna Devitt said:
“I was exhausted just watching; he was non-stop, how can someone this old have so much energy? My mum is a big fan and told me to get one of his books, the book truly is amazing, so I told mum to get her own copy.”
The third gig at 1UP, the sole suppliers of Sid’s book in Aberdeen, was the most surreal by far.
Sid performed ‘Salvador Dali’s Hat’, ‘Three Fat Ladies at the Bingo Hall,’ and thrashed himself with a daisy — but nothing had prepared him for two drunk shoppers and a man in an electric wheel chair.
The drunk shoppers really giggled at Sid’s antics, but thought nothing of standing next to him flicking through CD’s and asking his opinion on Hip Hop and Jazz classics.
Sid took all of this in his stride and was set the extra challenge of being nimble on his feet when the electric wheelchair man was so taken by the performance he decided to join in, whizzing to the stage and joining Sid on the first electric wheelchair elastic brain dance routine ever seen in Aberdeen. Sid may well have been the dance teacher to the Queen at one time in his life, but nothing had prepared him for this!!
Some nice people had ordered Sid’s book from Amazon and brought it along to be signed, and other nice people bought copies of the book at 1UP, and there then followed a good half hour of chatting and book signing.
A special mention must go to Fred Craig of 1UP who had brought along one of Sid’s original book/records from 1982 ‘Songs and Stories from a Suitcase Extravaganza.’ Fred wanted this signed, and in return Sid was rewarded with a well deserved cup of tea.
The year is 1979. I am at Aberdeen’s 62 Club to watch a selection of local punk bands, and my attention is drawn to an unfamiliar name on the bill.
Sid Ozalid? A band? A guy? Pretty punk if slightly strange kind of a name though, which for an 18 y.o. punk diehard was somehow reassuring.
On stage appeared a tall, skinny, slightly weird-looking guy with no guitar. Not punk – not punk at all, which in the circumstances was all the more intriguing.
What happened next was somewhere between seeing the light and being scarred for life.
Out of a sudden discharge of nervous energy came an onslaught of surreal, silly verse spliced seamlessly with a bunch of broken anecdotes delivered at a pace leaving no pause for appraisal; accompanied by incongruous, disjointed, directionless dance moves which somehow worked – they must have worked, as somehow, he stayed on his feet.
Then it was over. I had not moved. I was still staring at the empty stage, and I remember thinking: “I hope no-one asks me what I made of Sid Ozalid.” Devoid of reference points, my thoughts were a long time coming. Yes, I found it funny, and yes I was immensely entertained – I just didn’t know why! Neither punk nor Python, neither Cutler, Cooper nor Cooper-Clarke, Sid Ozalid certainly breathed the same air, but did not walk on the same planet.
Would I perhaps find a clue to understanding what made Sid tick from his publicity around at the time? -
“Legend has it that Sid Ozalid was born sometime during an eruption of earwigs.
“Sid arrived on earth from the planet OZ in the year 1898. His spaceship was disguised as an old brown suitcase that was full of inflatable toys.
“During this period he specialised in walking backwards into hat stands.
“Six years later he split from Flying Ozalids to form Sid and Sam the Ozalid Twins. This dynamic duo thrilled audiences with their routine entitled ‘The First pickled Onion in Orbit’, but alas this too came to an abrupt end due to lack of cupboard space”
- Alas, No.
Fast-forward to the following evening.
Three troublesome fat ladies, a conductor named Russ and a womanising fire raising tortoise had taken up permanent residence in my consciousness, and it seemed that the only way to exorcise these delightful demons, and at the same time come to terms with the experience was via demonstration to the uninitiated.
And so there I was outside with my brothers and sister and a few chums, recounting those fragments of verse I could recall whilst attempting in vain to recreate those unique ‘dance’ moves.
Perhaps an observer of the ‘lite’ version would be better placed to help me understand what it was about Sid that had so affected me. No chance. They stood – as I had stood, and stared – as I had stared, and laughed. That evening, each time another chum arrived in our company came the call:
” Hey Fred, go dae yer Sid Ozalid, watch ess, it’s really funny “
The previous evening Sid had performed for around 15 minutes. Twenty four hours later, I must have performed twice as long armed with only about 30 seconds of Sid’s material. More than once, passers-by stopped on the other side of the road … then moved on when they ascertained I was not in need of medical assistance.
As I look back I realise this was a solid indication that Sid Ozalid would be around for some time to come, and would become, if not a legend, definitely an icon of the Aberdeen Entertainment scene.
I was not the only one for whom Sid Ozalid presented an enigma:
” he auditioned and was invited to perform on two different talent shows. Once again the producers liked what Sid was doing but did not know how to describe him. They settled for ‘eccentric’. ” – Douglas John Mclean Cairns
Thirty two years on, having enjoyed many more of Sid’s performances, yet being no closer to understanding exactly how to explain what it is about Sid Ozalid’s act that entertains, amuses and excites me, I find myself charged with the task of reviewing his brand new book:
“Mr Elastic Brain – The Life And Poems Of Sid Ozalid”.
Having just finished reading it, I find myself desperate to tell everyone to go get themselves a copy as soon as possible, but as with my impression of that first performance, I struggle to articulate why it will be worth more to you than a tenner. But I will try.
These days, I know Sid Ozalid by his not so ‘pretty punk, and kinda reassuringly strange’ name Douglas Cairns …. which is actually more reassuring.
So, where to start?
This is an autobiographical book in four parts, about Sid Ozalid, written by Douglas John McLean Cairns. Or is it? As with all things Sid Ozalid, it is the equivalent of an ‘any-way-up’ cup as the first part of the book demonstrates.
Even to someone as familiar with the writer as I am, It startles me to discover that the madness which fuelled the performances of Sid Ozalid and brought so much pleasure to many also had an alter ego in the shape of a mental illness which had a devastating effect on Douglas Cairns for a period in 2001 – and as a consequence, all but put an end to Sid.
“People had always told Sid he was mad. He thought they were joking until the dawning of the new millennium, suddenly he had a doctor’s certificate to prove what people had been telling him for years.” – Douglas John Mclean Cairns.
Here it is we find – in between some hilarious stories of Sid’s outrageous antics and adventures – an honest account of the extent of Douglas’ illness, punctuated by humour of a nature that can only be explained in terms of Douglas’ story being written by Sid.
It is difficult to pinpoint where ownership of the pen changed, but what results is uniquely unsettling, and simultaneously entertaining. For Sid to joke about Douglas’ dark and desperate situation is surely to run the risk being regarded as sick … but then, at the pertinent time, they are both sick aren’t they?
I don’t have the recipe, but I am pretty sure the main ingredient is his ability to appeal to our inner child.
However, at no point does the humour mask the pain, the lighter asides serving only reinforce the severity of the debilitating condition by way of contrast. It is a brave piece of writing, sandwiched between hilarious tales of the more familiar and wonderful madness of The Artist Formerly Known As Sid Ozalid.
The major portion of the book’s contents is a collection of Sid’s wonderfully bizarre and humorous poems and songs which were the mainstay of his act from 1977 to the present day. Similarities with this material and that of Spike Milligan are impossible to ignore. However, to leave it at that would be to compare a wedding cake with a rowie on account of their flour content.
So am I any closer to putting into words what is the magical appeal of Sid Ozalid?
Well I don’t have the recipe, but I am pretty sure the main ingredient is his ability to appeal to our inner child.
Didn’t we all spontaneously giggle and cackle as babes in response to the simplest and the silliest of things? A pulled face? A silly noise? The poking out of a tongue? A sudden unexpected movement or gesture? Anything at all unusual yet unthreatening? When did we stop being so spontaneously and so thoroughly amused? Did we stop giggling, or did our adult entertainers decide our needs for entertainment lay elsewhere?
If nothing else, Sid Ozalid demonstrates that our inner child is still with us and desperate for a giggle, and the mere fact he knows our tickly spot is enough to make us all the more tickly.
If there should ever be an Aberdeen Entertainers Hall of Fame, Sid Ozalid will be there. He will be neither a statue in the foyer, a framed picture on a wall, or a prized prop or instrument in a glass case. The broom cupboard will be as good a place as any to start your search, but when you track him down he will be possibly be represented by that item described within the spontaneous lyrics of a similarly strange and hilarious Scots band.
” I’ll perhaps take a piece of white bread and I’ll paint it brown so you think it is brown but when you toast it it’s actually white for the paint falls off “( from the album Hairy Scalloween by The Pendulums. )
Mr Elastic Brain – The Life And Poems Of Sid Ozalid by Douglas John McLean Cairns is published by Chipmunka Publishingwhich specialises in giving a voice to people with mental health and other issues.
The profits from sales of Mr Elastic Brain are being donated to MIND – a leading mental health charity.
“We campaign vigorously to create a society that promotes and protects good mental health for all – a society where people with experience of mental distress are treated fairly, positively and with respect.” - http://www.mind.org.uk/
Aberdeen Voice will present a sample of Sid’s poetry in the coming weeks – if that’s OK with Sid, or Douglas, or both – so you can judge for yourselves should you miss all three performances in town this weekend.
Geesalaff Comedy Night Friday, May 27 at 8:00pm
Cellar 35, Rosemount Viaduct ( Sid onstage around 21.00pm )