Twonkey’s Stinking Bishop blows Brighton away

The Quadrant, Brighton:  May 1st and May 2nd 2015

He’s back! This is our FIFTH annual Twonkey show (his sixth) since we discovered him in what seems both like yesterday and a lifetime ago. We have temporarily put our tired movie-sequel-analogies on hold this year… it’s next year, Twonkey #7, that is the big precarious one when it could all go Mission To Moscow tits up!

Brighton once again gets the show (and accompanying album) a few months ahead of anyone else. But is it any good? Or does it stink to high heaven? Are we going to have to bash the bishop?

We held off on this review, until we found out if anyone received Mr. Twonkey’s celebrity endorsement in the general election. But now, with Big Dave freshly tucked back in at No. 10 barely an hour ago, we can happily shoot our load.

Enough of the suspense. Twonkey’s Stinking Bishop is another 50-odd minutes of classic five star Twonkey buffoonery and great new songs. The crowd loved it, the critics loved it, and most importantly we loved it. The plot, such as it ever is, involved Mr. Twonkey being sacked from his job at Looney Tunes. And, as only he could, Paul Vickers kinda reckons it’s more or less a true story.

All of your favourites are still here. The ship’s wheel with its powers of prediction – now a smaller, plastic travel wheel (in Brighton at least) – is back, hilarious and accurate in equal measure, with a double helping of dirty. The wheel even came with a prize for one lucky punter, a private performance of Dracula in Skipton.

Way back last October, when the Dracula in Skipton: Finger Fantasy routine debuted in London, we said we were too drunk to follow it. Shame, sobriety, an addiction to energy drinks, and a long dark teatime of the soul followed for us.

Well, wouldn’t you know. It wasn’t us, it was him! It feels like a proper narrative, but is so quickfire, absolutely none of it lands, despite Vickers moving his fingers in  perfect harmony with the dialogue. Being delivered directly to the competition winner, right in his/her face, just makes it funnier. Safe in the new knowledge that we’d been tricked, we went straight from the show to the ‘Offie’, laying waste to a six pack of Carly Specials on the train back to London. A few spots of bother, nothing serious.

We forgot to take photos, so knicked this off Twitter (2nd night photo)

We forgot to take photos, so knicked this off Twitter (2nd night photo)

Have you, like us, been wondering what happened to Hugh Grant since hard-hitting witness protection drama Whatever Happened To The Morgans? We reckoned he’d got his recent training in the method all higgeldy-cock, and has been hiding in character post-production. But no. Mr. Twonkey has the answer. Fear not for Hugh, he’s living it large on a gold-plated nuclear sub, banana’d up to the eyeballs.

And every year, without fail, there’s at least one new showstopping tune. This year, it appeared to be the instantly memorable This Is Showbiz, premiered at the end of the play Jennifer’s Robot Arm. But, as in other years, an early-debuted stunner (see Pissed As A Postman) is suddenly trumped by another (see Mother Shipton) come showtime. And it turns out that Mugulvery’s Farm is this year’s smash. It’s a peach.

Watching the debut of the new show, and immediately following it with a viewing of the newly released video of the last one, we can see changes creeping in. The fishnets for instance, fully recognised now as an utter liability, have been promoted to a main prop, guaranteed to cause  unpredictable chaos. At one point, the nets stick Twonkey to a chair amongst the Brighton crowd, which meant he couldn’t get all the way back to the mic for the next number. He just leaned as close as possible, kept calm and carried on. The uplifting spirit of David Cameron’s glorious England.

And the physical comedy is fabulous these days. He tried to lock a pig between two cheese wheels (don’t ask), one handed at that. It was the kinda stunt that a mime would spend hours getting wrong just right. But we have the feeling Twonkey was winging it, his confidence in failure absolute. A full glass of red wine was sitting just millimetres from this calamity, adding to the tension. Alas, the glass turned out to be as real as Nigel Tufnell’s trousersnake.

What a show! Count the days until August from right now.

Mr. Twonkey’s Acid House Circus Tour continues at London’s Soho Theatre on Fri May 22nd and Sat May 23rd.


Twonkey Product: 2015 is an absolutely jaw-dropping cork-shaped USB stick containing… an album, two videos, an album sampler and an audio book read by the author! Reviews are as imminent as David Milliband’s learjet back to Labour HQ.


Jennifer’s Robot Arm – first official performances!

The fantasy returns…

Jennifer’s Robot Arm, the Paul Vickers play we covered in rehearsal here, played in Clapham, London’s Bread & Roses Theatre, from April 16-18th 2015. And we caught the last night of the run. It wasn’t that much of a different experience this time, given how committed the performances were at rehearsal and what seemed, from memory, to be fairly minor script changes.

As sexually seductive as a young Judith Chalmers (John Rushton as 'Pam')

As sexually seductive as a young Judith Chalmers (John Rushton as ‘Pam’)

The biggest difference was the departure of drag queen Myra Dubois as Pam. At the rehearsal, we were sat next to a feller who looked like an ordinary theatre goer. But here he was, all of a sudden, on stage in drag as Pam! Helluva big boots to fill, but a job done with some panache by John Rushton. The remaining, returning cast were first rate once again.

The Twonkey newbie who came to the show with us got confused at the early off-screen appearances of Horatio Nelson and Patrick Promise. We didn’t, being already familiar, but perhaps it wasn’t overly clear to the uninitiated. Or he was just as thick as a plank. We’re calling it Evens.

Do NOT criticise the quality of his goose eggs (Connor Jones as 'Father')

Do NOT criticise the quality of his goose eggs (Connor Jones as ‘Father’)

Something we didn’t notice the first time without costume pointers is perhaps a slight Rab C. Nesbitt influence on the Father character. He comes out wearing a vest for a start, but the cleancut, well spoken Connor Jones is as far as it gets from Fisher’s Govan scumbag. As alumni from Vickers’s radio play, the part may even have been written with him in mind. The father is played as a permanent wet blanket, incapable of doing anything. His big line is very much in the signature style of Rab C (“You can sleep with my wife, you can give my daughter false hope, but you CANNOT criticise the quality of my goose eggs”). It occurred to us that if Rushton and Jones switched roles (but retained the manner of their original performances, Rushton as alpha male no matter his gender), you would have a very different play on your hands indeed. But maybe if they alternated, Jay and Shrapnell would insist on doing the same so not to be outdone. It could get trippy! Shrapnell, a woman playing a hysterical child, once again delivers the goods (and somehow rhymes ‘wood’ with ‘blood’ – just plain wrong, that, even if it works better in the play). Jay, an amiable looking fella, can summon the icy stare of a Bond Villain with no obvious change in expression. His Inventor’s repeated mantra of ‘It doesn’t really matter, does it‘, seems to refer to plotting in absurdist comedy more than anything else.

Some of the funniest lines of the night were nothing to do with Paul Vickers, as it happens. First class ad-libbing was going on. Before the show, Mr Rushton was holding court in character as Pam:

Rushton / Pam: ‘Sit down, love, it’s about to start.’

Audience Member: ‘I can’t. Nerve damage.’

Rushton / Pam: ‘Me too, love. Not in the same place as you, I’d expect.’

And we made the catastrophic decision to use the interval for a toilet visit. If only we had known Simon Jay stayed on entertaining the remaining audience, we would have just gone in our pants.

Simon Jay / The Inventor: ‘Anyone have any questions about tonight’s play?’

Audience Member: ‘What does the Robot Arm represent?’

Simon Jay / The Inventor: ‘It represents… Vietnam!’

Genius. Funny on so many levels.

Follow the Ho Chi Minh trail (Simon Jay as 'the Inventor', Miranda Shrapnell as 'Jennifer')

Follow the Ho Chi Minh trail (Simon Jay as ‘the Inventor’, Miranda Shrapnell as ‘Jennifer’)

The plan may be to bring Jennifer back at a later date for an even longer run. Fingers crossed some or all of the cast can stay on board. And there remains the possibility that a performance on Vickers’s own doorstep could lead to him taking a role himself, although the current cast have all ensured first team selection at this stage. Which would mean either writing a new part or, more likely, filling in for someone no longer available. Vickers in a dress? He’ll be wishing good health and unemployment on Mr. Rushton for the forseeable future.

Once again, full marks to director Jay and his incredible cast. Especially Rushton who was theoretically well up against it following Myra Dubois, which he’d seen for himself. But the part was nailed well and truly before the lights even went down. Bravo!

Photos by Anthony Oudot (thank you!)

Oh, and the Playboys Legend award for 2015 goes to… Martin Schiebel, aka ‘Das Soundmachine‘ (he knows why).



Director / Actor Simon Jay has also released a biography, hence the title of the book (he has replaced the ‘bi’ in biography with ‘bastard’ – you really have no chance with him, ladies, not even as a one-off). The blurb mentions it as a memoir about dealing with homosexuality and mental health issues as a schoolboy. We really wanted to finish it before this review, but it would mean missing our self-imposed review deadline, so we reserve the right to update this part in a few days. But the first half (and a bit) gets a gigantic thumbs up at Playboys HQ. It took huge guts to write it, and to put it out there for the public. As a lot of gay men (Jay himself, Stephen Fry, etc) have spoken about gay literature being a guiding light during their adolescence, you can only hope the people who need it the most will hear about it somehow.  You can buy it on Amazon Kindle here, for a mere £4.80, which is only 30p more expensive than a crap Sunday lunch:

The Book on Amazon


Bastardography is both harrowing and hilarious in just about equal measure. Some of the funny parts are not only laugh out loud, but keep on giving. From his early school years, he says something like ‘I went up to every boy in the class and kissed them all right on the lips, saying “I am going to marry each and every one of you.”‘ When he speaks to a therapist a few years later, he’s asked if he likes girls or boys and is shocked that anyone bar himself suspects he might be gay. Which just makes you think of the earlier kissing incident and laugh even harder that he didn’t think this gave him away.

He describes some poor ex’s genitalia as looking like ‘a wilted red hot chilli pepper.‘ Amusingly, that imagery definitely made its way into the Robot Arm show, certainly the rehearsal. We were too far back at the Clapham show to see such an appendage if it reappeared. But a shrivelled bright-red chilli pepper was right in our faces, hanging out of Simon’s fly, at the run-through. Ugh! We’d rather have that week-old raw kebab, thanks!

Something trivial I couldn’t quite get my head around were the cultural references from his schooldays. They are all out of wack! He’s a grown man now, and kicking some arse in his field. So what’s all this about getting bootleg Kanye West CDs at school? Kanye West? I like to think he meant Go West, and the spellchecker did the dirty on him. ‘We Close Our Eyes‘ – what a track! Spotify it. Learn something about a time when music meant music! And I’m sure Simon meant to say ‘tapes’, not CDs – the old C90, Spandau Ballet on one side, Robert Palmer on the other. The shiny discs didn’t come out until at least 1989!

Also, the book features all the questions about gay culture you wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Like, when does a gay man consider his virginity to be lost? We’d often wondered about that one. Buy the book and find out. Sorta.

I’d be interested to hear what others make of Simon’s time at secondary school. Because as bad as it sounds, it was no harsher than what at least 20% of boys at mine were subjected to, sad to say. I like to think I was in a very bad batch but who knows. Certainly this part must be fairly unique: of a class of 30, 2 died in separate incidents before the end of my school days, one by his own hand, the other by someone else’s (ruled an accident). Another died 9 months later, in 1991, which I only found out on a websearch in 2013 after suddenly becoming obsessed about this fragile character’s current welfare mid-hoovering one day. Simon’s book really took me back, and none of the memories were pleasant. Worst of all, to my shame, I was accused of personally bullying someone to the point he said he would never ever return to school (as happens to Simon in the book). But, I argued, I don’t even know the guy! For once, the teacher seemed to believe me and said he’d investigate. Next day, I’m asked if he had joined us for football recently and, at one point, I’d shouted I was going to get the RSPCA to take him away. I had done. In the context of the game (and possibly his bad behaviour, but maybe I’m being The King of Wishful Thinking here), it just sounded like the usual inane thoughtless crap that gets said. Either way, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I can only wonder now what else he’d been put through up to that point. Charlie’s surname has left the memory bank so I wont get a nasty surprise by trying to find him online, thank god. I’ve still felt terrible about it all day today, some 28 years later. (Good name for a movie, that).

Robbie Coltrane had been at the same school about 20 years earlier. I imagine he munched his way out of misery. Children, especially boys between the ages of 12-15, are nasty little bastards. Fuckin’ all of them.

Anyhow, buy Simon’s fab, enlightening book. And count your lucky stars.

Twonkey Overload!!

What a Twonkeytastic time to be living in the South of England. We’ve had the official opening of the play Jennifer’s Robot Arm in Clapham, then the debut of Twonkey’s Stinking Bishop in Brighton, and finally, coming later this month, the return of Mr. Twonkey to the Soho Theatre.


We’ve also had the unveiling of the 2015 Twonkey product, once more coming as a USB stick, and it’s a corker (literally, see photo). The goodies galore:

  • Hooks, Vine & Sinister, a ‘Best Of’ culled from the four Twonkey CDs from 2011-2014, including 5 fab new tracks
  • The full, final Edinburgh Fringe performance of Twonkey’s Private Restaurant from Aug 2014, in sparkling technicolor MP4 video.
  • An audio book version of Paul’s novella Itchy Grumble as read by the author
  • …and three sample tracks from The Greengrocer (Paul Vickers & The Leg)

So we’ve a lot to get through. But try we must. The plan being a review per day from now till the weekend… of the play, show, new album, new video, and the audio book. If we didn’t set ourselves crazy targets, we’d get nowt done.

And the excitement keeps on coming…

Mr. Twonkey plays the Soho Theatre again on Fri 22nd May, and Sat 23rd of May, before taking his show internationally…

…for our Playboys Prague Posse, whose existence we take on faith alone, Mr. Twonkey is bringing his Private Restaurant show to the former communist capital for a full week run. We have no idea if the Prague Fringe is in multiple languages, played to locals, or to visiting Brits on stag parties. Should you be a Man City fan planning a cheap getaway cum Twonkey visit, be warned that your ‘Better Dead than Red’ T-shirt means something different over there and could get you lynched.

Mr. Twonkey plays in Prague from May 26 – May 30 2015.

Jennifer’s Robot Arm debuts in London

An absurdist comedy in two actsand it’s a beauty!

We caught Paul Vickers’ first play, Jennifer’s Robot Arm, at a ‘rehearsed reading’ this week. It was not your average theatrical experience. Starting late, we were informed like so: ‘Sorry dahlings, the drag queen is still putting her make-up on’. You never hear that down the Barbican.

This was also the first Paul Vickers show minus the man himself, which threw the spotlight onto the material. Was it possible that Vickers’ hypnotic stage charisma has been papering the cracks all this time?

The storyline will be familiar to fans as a Twonkey tale from 2012’s album and show. Jennifer is a girl who thinks she’s the sister of Pinocchio and made of wood. She tries to prove it by using her father’s circular saw to cut off her arm. Blood, blackmail, sex and hilarity ensue. The play develops the piece from a barely 3 minute miniature to 40 minutes, dropping character names along the way.

IMG_1211Myra Dubois, Simon Jay, Miranda Shrapnell

There were actually five performers, but we couldn’t get them all in one shot. That’s the drag queen on the left, by the way. Don’t be fooled by the photo (taken before the start), or the description as a ‘reading’ – performers got up and were bang into it. Bizarrely, after our tenuous pre-show comparison to Richard III, director/actor Simon Jay  as The Inventor was practically channelling Olivier’s Richard, all hunchbacked and swinging arms.

Jennifer herself (Miranda Shrapnell) was all in, lying across the floor, hellbent on staying in character. She even refused to use her right arm to turn the script pages after it had been sawn off! Respec’ due. And Connor Jones opened the play as Horatio Nelson with one eye resolutely shut.

A side effect of it being a ‘rehearsed reading’ was probably speed. Advertised as 60 minutes, it finished just shy of 40. The prose scene settings (read out by Nathan Cross) seemed more like a screenplay than a stage piece. It would work well filmed, albeit only with a big fuck-off budget. Unless, in the name of art and cost cutting, Miss Shrapnell could be persuaded to lose the arm. Couldn’t hurt to ask.

Myra Dubois, the drag queen, played Jennifer’s mother in such a way that it’s hard to imagine it played by a real woman (sorry Myra). She had perfectly droll delivery for Vickers’ distinctive writing style, the Christoph Waltz to his Tarantino.  In a sex scene she claimed she was ‘nobody’s trick walrus’. We’re still pondering that one.

If the future of the play was a 50 minute Fringe slot, it might be too long in full performance. But it’s probably not long enough as a standalone play either. We say MAKE IT LONGER, don’t cut it. Vickers mostly kept to the narrative with only two diversions (including Horatio Nelson’s appearance). He may have been reining himself in here, as this is what he does better than anyone as Mr. Twonkey. But we reckon the play could easily survive a few more of these interludes.

Just like his radio play, Vickers is messing with the form and not just trying to get through it unscathed. All sorts of chicanery seemed to be going on with the timeline. Jennifer dreams of being on a steam-train before she finds out about the steam-powered arm. And she initially collects her new limb from the bottom of a lake for reasons unstated. But that’s where the arm ends up at the end. Spoiler Alert!

It finished with a new Vickers song, possibly entitled Zig-Zag Man. Which we loved and hope to hear on the next Twonkey album. It did, however, mean that he failed at presenting a Vickers-free evening on a technicality. After a show of faith in these five fine performers – which was not misplaced – he bottled it at the last minute with a bit of audio-based insurance.

But the bottom line is we loved it. It’s everything we have come to expect from His Twonkeyness. Hilarious, endlessly inventive, deceptively clever and utterly, utterly bonkers. With top marks also to Simon Jay and his wonderful cast. Glad we got to see this unique debut. London, not garlic bread, is the future.

No mention was made on the night, nor on any of the various Twitter updates, about what’s next for poor Jennifer. However, a quick search reveals that she will be back in two months! Thurs 18th – Sat 20th April. A new venue, but still in London. Tickets can already be booked. We shall return!

Jennifer’s Robot Arm – The Play!!


There have been some rumblings in Twonkeyworld. Rumours abound about a possible comedy appearance in Prague, although we haven’t seen anything in black and white. And Mr. Twonkey has also updated his blogspot with – at last – some promotional material about The Greengrocer album, and also the surprising news of a new play, Jennifer’s Robot Arm.

That’s right, he is chucking his hat into the playwriting arena. Some might say ‘Hey, shouldn’t he just stick to what he knows best, and write a song, or record an album, or perform live music, or write some comedy, or do a cabaret show, or write a book, or some short stories, or maybe do a radio play?’

But no, his ambition cannot be contained, not in this world. He’s written a play. That’s Shakespeare country. He’s having it performed in London. Shakespeare country. It’s about a lead character with just one working arm. Richard the Third, Shakespeare country. And if that seems like a desperate connection, we can tell ya that it was the same Richard III that gave Twonkey the title of his last album, ‘Giddy World‘.

Play excerpts have appeared on the blogspot and the Twitter account of one of the performers. We here at Hunchbacks HQ have given these a wide berth in order to keep the experience as fresh as possible. At this stage, only one performance has been announced, a week from today, February 9th, 7.30pm, at the White Bear Theatre in London. So colour us excited.

Some people have said we here at HHQ exhibit a pro-Twonkey bias. This is a blatant lie – the play will receive the same scathing critical eye from us as anything else would. So, we will see you back here in a week’s time for ‘William Who? Paul Vickers takes the London Playwriting world by storm with another Twonkey Triumph!!’

The Greengrocer: Paul Vickers & The Leg


notthisbloody time

Paul Vickers first released an album with Edinburgh band The Leg in 2008, two years after his last album with Dawn of the Replicants. A second followed in 2010, then, in early 2012, third collaboration The Greengrocer was announced. A pre-launch gig took place way back that February, but the album soon disappeared from The Leg’s official website. We suspected the supergroup had gone their separate ways, which would have been a shame. But then a few shows took place in April 2014, with the news that the album was being manufactured for a release this year. It’s Vickers’ 2nd album in six months, The Leg’s second in a year, and it’s a beauty. We can’t complain.


The first instance we can find of this LP being offered for sale was at a gig several weeks ago, giving a release date:  20th September 2014. A whopping 30 months after the first launch gig. Now, we’re not ones to start conspiracy theories, but here are the facts:

  • negotiations to hold a Scottish Referendum began just three weeks before the initial Greengrocer launch gig in Feb 2012
  • as negotiations gathered pace, The Greengrocer vanished from all release schedules
  • the album is a collaboration between English and Scottish artists
  • it’s utterly marvellous, proof positive that the Union works bloody wonders
  • it was finally pressed and ready for release by the summer of 2014
  • but stayed hidden, unheard and unavailable until…
  • …one single day after the Referendum result was announced.

One frickin day! The Daily Mail will back us up on the details. That’s the last time we’ll mention it. Honest.

And anyway, we are happy to say that not only has the material not dated in that time, it is quite possibly the most current album ever released! Just listen to track #3, which begins  ‘Watch out Wendy, they build them so bendy.’ This album came out 24 hours after the release of the new iPhone 6+ which, it turns out, bends like a motherfucker. Right there on the ‘bridge’ between the processor and the flash memory apparently. Later line ‘the devil runs the show‘ seems to be a reference to Mephistoles himself, Bono from U2, who shat his crappy new album onto the whole world’s iDevices to celebrate the release of said bendy phone. What makes this piece of super-quick social commentary so mind-boggling is the fact that they’d also played it live 6 months earlier! Vickers is the new Mother Shipton.

The album is a sonic revelation. The Leg are tight! And that’s not just the xenophobia talking. We mean musically here! But they aren’t afraid to chuck in some cheesy backing vocals when the tune requires it.

Vickers, as a lyricist, is a different beast on a record like this than he is with DotR or his Twonkey albums. The words are as dense and hardcore as the music they accompany. We’d have loved to see some printed lyrics, coz the truth is we don’t know what the hell he’s singing about the half the time. ‘You’re the window, I’m the plant,’ he sings on the opener. Can’t imagine Rod Stewart belting that out somehow, and it’s the most traditional lyric on the album.

The vocals are as strong as ever, although vary wildly depending on the song. Listen to that first track My Trifle telling yourself Vickers laid down his vocal in the middle of an anal probe. Honestly, you’ll believe it to be true. It’s a peculiar choice of opener, to be honest, given the tempo and the fragile vocals. Most records like to either come blasting out of the gate, or stripped right down, but this is neither. A great track all the same. Next, The Tulips of Delft, is nowhere near as cute as the title suggests. Pitchforks, knives, mutilations, plenty of real menace. Followed by the aforementioned Ode to them Bendy New iPhones, before Bound To The Sour & Horns And Anvils, the softest folk sounds on the album.

Then we’re at the midpoint and the beautiful pairing (if you’re not listening on vinyl and having to take an annoying time-out to climb over a hooker & change the fucking side) of Chaos Magic and title track The Greengrocer. These are, for us, the album highlights. Both, perhaps not coincidentally, are also the tracks that highlight the band’s sound when they take it down a notch. The Leg can rock the frickin’ house like nobody’s business, but sound beyond scarily good when they slow it down. The title track even injects some loud distortion between one of the rock-to-quiet transitions, just to accentuate the point.

‘Chaos Magic’ is actually practised by some folk with a straight face. Scottish comic book scribe Grant Morrison claims he used it to pull his wife. The fact that he’s rich, handsome, charismatic and that she left her council squat to live in his castle all apparently had nothing to do with it. Anyway, quite what’s being said about it in this song is unclear. It begins with some haunting background vocals asking for ‘Mercy’, but on the shouty chorus intro, Vickers seems to scream ‘Dumbledore, give me more!’

Seven Floors of Pleasure had previously been released as a single between albums. The version here sounds like a complete re-recording which we prefer to the original. Polynesian Snuff, a Twonkey Tale spoken to a beautiful backing, had also appeared earlier, in print, as part of the Collected Minatures in Itchy Grumble. And finishing the album is another track with a previous appearance, Straggler On The Run, familiar to anyone who caught Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra. We have to admit that our ears failed us on this show favourite, and we didn’t know it was a Leg collaboration until we got the record. Shameful.

Fortunately for all you (and us) who don’t own a record player, the LP comes with a download code. First time we’d used one, but they work just fine. 37 seconds to download the whole thing. So far, it’s only sold at gigs, but hopefully some kind of release schedule or mass availability will be announced soon. This record deserves to be heard!

We wish the album huge success, but maybe not so much that it reaches the ears of Islamic State and they get ideas from the line ‘a bomb in an aubergine.’ There’s even a picture of how to set the device up on the back cover! A bit irresponsible, that. Imagine having to call 999 and say ‘My fruit and veg’s gone off. No, not turned brown. Gone off! The in-laws have been blown to bits all over the kitchen. The dishwasher looks as good as knackered.’

We wouldn’t like to pick a favourite between these three Vickers / Leg albums so far. But if pushed, fuck it, we’d go for this one. It’s a grower. Probably the best album sonically of Vickers’ career to date. These guys sound so good they could dress haggis up as lamb. And with at least one new song performed recently that isn’t on this album (Vinegar Mask), here’s hoping there’ll be a fourth in the not too distant future.

Paul Vickers.

The Leg.

Better Together.

Mr. Twonkey headlines CONFUSE comedy night in London

**Updated with frankly spiffing new photo by Tony Oudot!**

October 24th, London


What makes a good comedy audience? We’ve no idea but if asked before hand, we wouldn’t have picked this as the best set-up for a stellar Twonkey crowd. The room was large in every direction with no distinguishing features, kinda like a school gym, there were too many acts during a long evening, etc, etc. But whadda ya know, it was the best Twonkey audience since… maybe all the way back to the 2011 Variety Night. And that was a Home game. Certainly a better London crowd than the Soho Theatre back in March.

The business plan was thus: get people in for £1 a ticket, and then bugger them senseless with the bar bill. They were selling their own beer at roughly £5 a pop, probably making £4.80 clear profit on every bottle. Fortunately, we’d already been cheaply oiled elsewhere before the show.

Disclaimer: Team Playboys had an unfortunate double-booking we couldn’t get out of, and had been plied with 5 hours of free booze before this show, arriving just before Mr. Twonkey took to the stage (standing room only by then). We had to concentrate like fuck to take the show in, and it also meant we can’t comment on the whole line-up.

Vickers topped the bill appearing as Mr. Twonkey, which we can assume is now officially his stage name. And, always on the lookout to sharpen up his act and go after the Michael McIntyre crowd, he decided to perform the whole thing under a fish net. Which made things at times awkward, at others just totally shambolic, and the audience absolutely frickin loved it! When we mentioned this addition to the Twonkey look, it was suggested the fish net could have been a fetish thing! Erm, I think we’ll go with ‘unlikely’.


What was also pleasing about this Total Twonkey Triumph was that  it wasn’t the first comedy curveball of the night. From the little we did see, it appears most of the acts were a bit off the beaten track. If we’d have been asked to put on the best line-up for Twonkey to headline, we’d have gone with basic stand-ups, allowing him to really stand-out.  That said, we’re not sure you can produce anything to prepare a Twonkey virgin for what they are about to witness. The feller stood next to us was literally doubled over with laughter for the whole half hour!

Puppet Hanratty, who we previously reported looked like he’d been suffering significant abuse between shows, has now been replaced by a new puppet. You can draw your own conclusions about that. And older puppet, the Soul Catcher, now appears under the new name McGillvary. At least our beer-bottle eyes were telling us it was the same puppet. Now, we’d love to give you the first appraisal of new routine Transylvanian Finger Fantasy, to our usual level of more detail than anyone needs or wants, but it was really quickfire dialogue, all over so quickly and… frankly, we were just too pissed to take it in. Sorry. Shit happens.

There were a few greatest hits (sung out by old favourite Goal Girl), but for the most part this was new material, and all less than 2 months after the end of the Private Restaurant run. Next year’s show is looking mighty fine. Look out for a new song ‘Raspberry’ which, on a single hearing, we can confidently say is the most enjoyable song with Raspberry in the title since Raspberry Beret way back in ’85.

So a big thank you to CONFUSE, the fantastic audience and, of course, Mr Twonkey. For our next Twonkey show, we intend to be stone cold sober. But unless it’s an 11am slot, we’re making no promises.