Posts Tagged ‘twonkey’

Twonkey’s Mumbo Jumbo Hotel

Apologies Twonkeyfans…. Hunchback HQ has been credit crunched, and relocated. We now work on the move with little or no notice, and have cleaned out our Panamanian hidey-hole. With our new reliance on the minimum wage, we’re even thinking of voting for Jezza Corbyn just for extra pocket money. Having a hit-and-run lifestyle like the A Team can make updating a fanblog a bit tricky. Hey, if the A Team blogged like motherfuckers in the Liam Neeson movie, we wouldn’t know. A movie by morons for morons. We’re only talking about the ’80’s vintage here.

And all this travelling, tragically, just as Mr. Twonkey begins an assault in London Town this May. We won’t be around for most of it. We could put a sad face emoticon here and confirm our membership of the emotionally stunted idiocracy, but we’re not gonna.

Although we’ll miss most of the May gigs, we did manage to catch the debut of Twonkey’s Mumbo Jumbo Hotel at the Beckenham Comedy Festival at the end of Feb. Mr. T swung into town to debut 20 minutes of the 2016 show. Here’s photographic proof of the man setting his Hotel up for business. People often say to us ‘you can’t blog for shit, but fuck me, you sure can take a good photo!’ What can we say, it’s a gift! You’ve either got an eye or you haven’t. Contact us for competitive rates.


So how is the Hotel shaping up? Needless to say, everything is tip top. He kicked off with old favourite The Flying Tailor, before launching into the new show. We’re happy to say you know what to expect. The wheel has not been reinvented, observational comedy it aint. If you have a single romantic bone in your body, a story about filet-o-fish might make you change your junkfood allegiance to Burger King. And this year’s classic new song may very well be entitled ‘Macaroni‘. The show went down a treat with the Beckenham crowd, still reeling from the death of their favourite son, Mr David Jones, but not so much that they didn’t make a few jokes about him. But you have to give our own Mr. Twonkey full marks for playing just 20 minutes of his set 400 miles away from home, and bringing the whole hotel with him!

He’s back in London next month for a whole plethora of dates:

Brighton Fringe: Sweet Dukebox 19:00 hours- 6th to the 8th of May.

Nunhead’s Ivy House: 20:30 hours, London 13th of May

Museum of Comedy: 19:00 hours-London 14th of May.

Wandsworth Fringe London: 22:30 hours on the 20th of May, 20:30 hours on the 21st of May.

Don’t Miss It!


Hooks, Vine & Sinister (the new album!)

The Cork

One year on, and we’re exactly 12 months closer to being six feet under. But on the bright side, there’s always a new Twonkey show, and a new album… Last year Mr. Twonkey shook it up by putting out Giddy World on a USB stick and included a 13 minute Radio Play at the end. This year, he has another USB release, cork-shaped, and it contains an absolute bounty of material. A new album, Hooks, Vine and Sinister (a compilation of 11 old tracks, and 5 new ones), a splendiferous full length Mp4 video of his last show, Twonkey’s Private Restaurant, an audiobook of his novella, Itchy Grumble, as read by the author itself, and a bonus short comedy video and 3 tracks from his other album of the year (!!!) with The Leg. Phew!

We’ll look at the Twonkey Hits album by Paul Vickers and Friends first:

Hooks vs Hunchbacks 3rd attempt


The New Tracks

Just five, but we’re talking vintage Vickers here. At least two of them would have made this album anyway (the Best Of section) had they been released earlier.

This Is Showbiz – We loved this from the moment we heard the first note back in January. It was played at the end of the performances of his play Jennifer’s Robot Arm (strictly as outro music, not an actual part of the show). Instantly memorable (sung by folk at the bar afterwards on a single hearing), we initially thought this jaunty number could qualify under ‘sinister’ with the line ‘a vacancy where a hearse should be’. But the line turns out to be the more jovial ‘a vacancy where a heart should be’. Actually, that’s still quite bleak now that we think about it. It’s another collaboration with Hamish ‘Hot Beryl’ Hawk and Steven ‘Victor Pope’ Vickers. Catchy as the proverbial fuck.

Mugulvery’s Farm – Wow, another bona fide Vickers classic. One of his best ever vocals, which we can only describe as a drunken Vincent Price showing off his best Barry Gibb falsetto. In a perfect world, this would be a smash hit. Collaborator is ex-DotR bandmate Grant Pringle, who is also behind The Flying Tailor (heard in The Hits section). Quite a one-two whammy. It’s almost 15 years since this pair were in a band together, but they’re still dynamite. Our favourite track.

Raspberry – this one is actually credited as ‘Raspberry 2014‘, and may be an updated version of a much older track, especially as collaborator Andy Currie has been off the scene for a few years now. Likely to date from his Recording The Impossible days. It debuted in London, October 2014. Short techno track with slowed-down vocals. He sounds utterly demented. Not for the first time.

Pencils for a Broom (Looney Tunes) – great little guitar number, the lyrics telling the story laid out in Twonkey’s Stinking Bishop. Energetic as hell to fit the subject matter. Wonderful stuff.

The Architect – this one starts with spoken word and orchestral tones, with the vocal playing over itself before breaking into a proper song It’s remarkably similar in structure to an obscure Duran Duran track called Drive By, which we’d be surprised if anyone involved in this had ever heard. Bloody Philistines. It’s a collaboration with Massimiliano Puddu, who did the Italian bits on Hands Off Mussolini, so we can only assume he’s Italian. And that it was he who personally added or inspired all the dubious lyrics about the Italians inventing everything. Like Joe Mantegna does at the start of Godfather III before Andy Garcia shoots him dead like the lying prick he is. And we wonder… Did Mr. Vickers misread those lyrics when adding the voce? There’s a bizarre line ‘Pleasure was discovered by a monk in a drain in Lazio,’ which we think was supposed to be ‘Pleasure was discovered by a monk in Adrian in Lazio.’

Christ, that poor kid.

The Hits!

Right, onto the ‘compiled’ tracks. Paul has been involved in 13 music albums now (5 x Dawn of the Replicants, 1 x Pluto Monkey, 3 x with The Leg and 4 x Twonkey Soundtracks), not counting the odd extended EP, compilation or two recordings that have musical elements, but are basically comedy albums (1). This release features Eleven of the Best musical selections from the last four Twonkey albums (Oom-Pah!, Nest of Knickers, Gasp! and Giddy World).

Now, we’ll concede Mr Vickers seems to master every discipline he attempts. But is choosing his Best Eleven a step too far? What made him wake up one morning and decide he was Sir Alex Ferguson?

“a real jockeys ale ~ makes yer knees fall in ~ Hot Beryl ~ she’s a stiff lay-day”

This is a selection we couldn’t possibly give anything less than five stars to. But that’s more about the strength (‘in depth’, as all those pundit pricks say every two minutes) of the material he chose from. We would probably change about half of the selection.

Most criminally, there’s no Stan Laurel, nothing less than Paul & Pierre’s absolute masterpiece! It’s not quite like buying the Greatest Hits of Renée and Renato(2) and discovering there’s no Save Your Love, but still…

Anyway, we think we can beat Paul with a simple 4-4-2 (restricting our love of Paul & Pierre to half of the players) and don’t mind laying out our team-sheet here. It’s a squad overflowing in belief. Read it and weep.

Hunchbacks, Mine and Definitive

11 tracks (2 subs)

In goal, it has to be Mother Shipton. If it goes to penalties, she’s gonna guess the right way. Bottom of the World kinda picks her own place at the back. We need to fill central defence with some aerial power, so Sophie The Aeronaut gets a nod as well as The Flying Tailor, who’s great with headers (off tall buildings), and Fizzy Lemonade who sounds like he should be faster than he is.

On the left of midfield, we’ll have Pissed As A Postman to provide good delivery to the forwards. More central will be Lon Chaney (Revisited), but if it becomes a snow / orange ball situation he’ll get the fear and be next to useless. We’d replace him with the weather appropriate Crimp Drizzle. Next to Lon is Lillian Gish, since we reckon that pair of contemporaries might ‘know each other’s moves’ (wink, wink) and avoid the square-peg / round-hole criticism that dogged Gerrard & Lampard (3). And The Night My Lip Swelled Up should add some Keane-esque hard edge to the central stronghold.

Up front has to be Stan Laurel for speed, what with his lean frame from all them fun-runs. If he’s lost some pace by injury time, we will replace lean-for-lean with Easy On The Mayo. And for expert finishing (on at least two albums now), it’s got to be crowd favourite Hot Beryl.

It could be hair dryer time at Twonkey Towers… takes us back to the old mixtape days when you’d consider yourself a musical genius after compiling one, momentarily forgetting that you didn’t actually create a note of it. If that affliction still applies when you’re a grown man, guess what – you’re a DJ!  Whatever the selection, Twonkey’s 2015 release is a thing of utter beauty. Count the days till you can bag your own ‘cork’.

  1. Call ourselves fans? There’s actually TWO musical numbers on the first Twonkey album Fucking Storys, a second hidden at the end of the last track. We’re sure we looked for something in the silence originally and found nothing. So imagine our surprise when listening a few months back, getting distracted and failing to turn it off at the end, only for the CD to come back to life with an additional track… nothing less than an earlier version of The Catshop Catastrophe! We’d been sitting on that badboy for four years, totally oblivious. For the record though, it’s not a patch on the fab Gasp! re-recording.
  2. Gosh, we made the huge mistake of looking up Renée on Wikipedia for spelling purposes. It only turns out that the Italian bombshell was an English cleaning lady with the un-enchanting name of Hilary Gibbon! And she was even replaced by a model for the video, the fat cow!
  3. Dogged, as in ‘followed around’, not the post-George Michael meaning.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Gasp! (2013) Part 2

Here we are… Part II of the album guide that takes longer to read than the album takes to listen to. But if any album deserves this treatment, it’s surely Gasp!. This covers tracks #9 to #16.


A Rare Tingler (with Steven Vickers)

If we had to describe the Twonkey Tales in a single word, we’d say they were a bloodbath, and then argue that it’s just one word if you don’t use a space in the middle. Honestly, Vickers makes Game of Thrones look like Enid Blyton. King Evelyn, the hero of this tale, has the same fate as most Vickers’ heroes, which is a hideous, barbaric death. It’s vivid and amusing and disturbing as always. Now, we have tried to find out what a ‘tingler’ is with little success. So all we can use is the circumstantial evidence, which would suggest it’s a finger sized device used to scratch your arse with! And if that’s the case, we can only imagine that it’s a ‘tingler’ which adorns the album cover (see detail above). Don’t take that to the bank, though.

Trivia: The sonic background for this has been kicking around for some time. It was originally the backing for a Recording The Impossible era tale about Marlon Brando giving birth to a ‘man baby’ (it didn’t happen!), which was once available on a long since vanished Impossible website. (Thanks to ‘Deepthroat’ for the info).

Kiss The Gargoyle (with Roger Simian)

A short, jaunty number with a kid-friendly melody but some racy lyrics, this became a favourite around Hunchbacks HQ especially with Hunchbacks Junior. But we don’t play it out loud any more. Can’t take the risk. All we need is for little Hunchbacks to turn up at Nursery singing ‘I got a hammer for a prick, I tease the rats with my stick’ and we’ll be in front of a judge quicker than you can say ‘It’s A Knockout’.

Trivia: this is the only ‘song’ performed during a show (Twonkey’s Kingdom) that wasn’t played as an instrumental for Vickers to sing over. Instead it played with the distorted vocals intact and he just mouthed the lyrics when he felt like it. If he felt like it. Our old Primary Three school teacher used to have a word for that kinda behaviour. ‘Lazy!’ she would say to us. ‘You’ll never amount to a single thing!’ History has proved her right.

Playboys With Hunchbacks (with Steven Vickers)

At last, after probably millions of tunes celebrating man’s superstitious mental failings, evolution gets a song in its honour. Richard Dawkins should come on stage for his debates to this tune. Let his detractors come out to Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam and Dickie D is already 1-0 up. A great track which we were thrilled to see on disc. And, if you haven’t already figured it out, we named this here blog in its honour.

Trivia: Playboys With Hunchbacks comes from our first Twonkey experience, Twonkey’s Castle, although was absent from the companion album at the time. The original version had a kinda Egyptian thing going on, although this remix sounds just as good in a different way. This version – to the best of our knowledge – got a single live airing during an encore at the 2012 Brighton Fringe.

The Horror of England

This played at a few Blue Cadabra gigs, but was quickly dropped. Which is a shame as it was something of a classic. And topical as hell. But maybe he thought some Scots might take the whole thing literally. It’s a pisstake of a few Scottish stereotypes, that they are fond of a few drinks and hating the English. But the thing about stereotypes…

Trivia: The goat being milked is called ‘Laddie’, the funniest gag at the expense of the Scots in the whole track. A few little things non-Scots may not understand: ‘sat on’t bucket’ is a reference to popular D.C. Thompson cartoon character Oor Wullie. And the children ‘sat up in bed drinking pints’ is a reference to the tradition of Scottish children at home in bed… drinking pints.

Stan Laurel (with Pierre Chandeze)

We have no idea if other fans or even the creators would agree, but for us this is it – the pinnacle of Paul and Pierre as songwriters and performers, both separately and together. And there’s no way we could do it justice here. Vickers had a short history of dedicating tracks to golden age stars, and maybe this was written to order by Pierre, as opposed to being something Vickers just happened to fashion into a Stan Laurel tribute. I only say this as you can almost hear a funereal re-write of the jaunty Laurel & Hardy theme in those opening nine notes, which under-pin the entire song. And it seems unlikely Pierre is suggesting the subject matter for these tunes (“Dear Paul, here’s my latest tune which needs some words. It’s up to you, but for me the music suggests something about a kitchen appliance that just won’t shut up! Love Pierre”). This would be one of our eight picks on Desert Island Discs, no question. It’s a melancholic masterpiece that honestly would have been the highlight had it appeared on Sgt Pepper. With its mood, and Stan Laurel recently dead and appearing on the cover, it even would have fit right in. It’s probably got the best opening line of anything we can think of, soaring right out of the gate and departing from the main melody before it’s even been established with a stunning vocal. And Pierre does exquisite work on more layers than an Elton John wedding cake. Simply incredible work that should be in every collection. The fellas have made it available for free on Soundcloud and you can listen here. Use decent speakers or headphones though for the full Stan experience.


Trivia: The websites that sell Gasp! as a download erroneously credit this track to Paul & Steven Vickers. The song is also available on Paul & Pierre album Eggs Benedict With Mr Wu on the Seahorse Monorail. This release is technically a compilation, although as the tracks all date from 2011-13, it has a gestation period no longer than 90% of original albums these days, so you can treat it either way. We love everything Paul Vickers does and that’s why we’re here. But we’ve got to say there’s something just utterly magical about Paul & Pierre.

The Sound of the Holy Grail (with Andy Currie and Thomas Traux)

‘What does the Holy Grail sound like?’ asks Vickers at the beginning of this track. I did some digging and can you believe no one has thought to ask this question before? Is it any wonder the grail’s still missing if we can’t even ask the fundamental questions? With Vickers, archaeology’s loss has been music and comedy’s gain and the track is a classic. It’s a Vickers and Andy Currie collaboration with (I’m assuming) a musical backing track by Thomas Traux, and an outtake from Vickers and Currie’s priceless 2008 album Recording The Impossible. Currie also wheels out his first rate Harrison Ford impersonation. Great stuff. But the truth is the Holy Grail sounds exactly like the track that had just preceded this one!

Trivia: The Harrison Ford quotes are all from the first three Star Wars films. Not the so-called ‘Original Trilogy’, but the first three films. But those are the same, I hear you say. ‘Fraid not. George Lucas has written the first Star Wars sequel out of history in a way that would have made Joseph Goebells proud. The first three Star Wars films are actually thus: 1. Star Wars 2. The Star Wars Holiday Special  3.The Empire Strikes Back. The Holiday Special was a full length Star Wars film shown on TV in 1978. It featured the full cast, even including the debut of fan-favourite Boba Fett, with Han Solo and Chewbacca going back to the Wookie home world to celebrate Life Day (‘Happy Life Day’) with Chewie’s family. And Chewie’s father’s name? Wait for it….. drum roll….. Itchy!

Nose Umbrella

This short more-or-less instrumental track was used as backing music for a Twonkey magic trick during Blue Cadabra. The opening notes always make us think of the Bond theme. Hard to hear now without being transported back to the show and hearing Vickers tell his onstage assistant ‘Please pour in the hat full of heroin’ as it was playing. You had to be there.

Trivia: This tune also has its genesis back in the Recording The Impossible days, where it was introduced as ‘Socks by Honking Snout’. The current version isn’t the same and has been slowed right down.

Charabang (with Pierre Chandeze)

The second of two songs with Pierre on this album. A great little catchy number which kept its place in every single Blue Cadabra show we attended (which included the first, the last and a good few in between). As with most Pierre numbers, the production is extraordinary with all kinds of unusual sounds working beautifully in tandem all at once. And Vickers tops it all off perfectly, singing with such conviction that I assumed it was a true story. Just like The Talking Oven.

Trivia: A charabang, or charabanc to give it its most common spelling, was a proto-type turn-of-the-century open-topped bus. And when they had accidents there seemed to be an unfortunately high incidence of the death of everyone on board. Some digging to find a possible event being sung about lead nowhere. A few charabanc disasters on Moors, but none sounding remotely like ‘Oakley Moor’ which I think is what he sings. Also, I’m no social historian, but the idea of anyone in England circa 1900 going by the name of Hillary Wu seems unlikely. Weirder still though, is that I did come across a charabanc victim with the name of Sarah Ann Dunn, the name of a character in Oom-pah!

Coming soon… Part III of the album guide they tried to ban! But at the risk of curbing your enthusiasm, everyone knew we were always going to shoot our chucklemuck in Part 2.

‘Sometimes the hand goes missing in the glove’*

*…only to be found down Macauley Culkin’s trousers

*…only to be found down Macauley Culkin’s trousers

Our week started well enough at Twonkeys in London but ended in abject poverty.

MONDAY: Twonkey took Soho by storm, including a brand new song. And Mother Shipton is another Vickers classic that we hope will also make its debut on disc this summer. The song ends enigmatically with Twonkey’s latest piece of philosophy just hanging in the London air… ‘sometimes the hand goes missing in the glove’. Wow. What did it mean? It sounded both deep and mysterious and we knew we could use it to look smarter than we are. All week.

TUESDAY: Team Playboys find ourselves down the pub where everyone is spouting the latest theories on still-missing Malaysian Flight MH370. We’re finally asked if we can contribute our likely explanation. ‘Well’, we say, ‘sometimes the hand just goes missing in the glove.’ If the atmosphere could talk, it would have screamed ‘Fuck!‘ All our mates look at each other as if to say ‘Someone must share this theory with the Malaysian government. And quickly!’

WEDNESDAY: The Budget. George Osbourne’s Big Day. Team Playboys find ourselves shmoozing in a pub down Fleet Street with a bunch of pricks who all earn £80,000+ a year, but pretend they’re ‘street’ coz they support Crystal Palace and refuse to pay any child maintenance. ‘So’, one of them goes, ‘doesn’t cutting the tax on beer and bingo show true colours, vis-à-vis the  Tory condescension of the working classes?’ ‘Well’, we said, ‘We think that sometimes the hand goes missing in the glove’. Stunned silence. We think they’re still mulling it over.

THURSDAY: Down some ‘muso’ boozer for a CD release party for some talentless fucks. We get talking to some NME dickhead. He asks if Damon Albarn can pull off his solo record after ’25 years hiding behind a gang mentality?’ ‘Hmmm,’ we said. ‘It’s definitely a factor that, you know, sometimes the hand can go missing in the glove.’ The fucker looked at us like he’d never review another CD in his miserable life.

FRIDAY: We had to skip an hour’s drinking time to go down the DHSS office to sign on. We knew we had done bugger all to look for a job. And so did they. ‘So, Mr Hunchbacks, you haven’t applied for any jobs or done fuck all in the last month. How do you expect to finally find work, hmmm?’ ‘Well,’ we said, ‘Sometimes the hand…’ We stopped ourselves just in time and racked our brains through the Twonkey songbook for a better response. Ah! ‘I don’t like cakes. But I know someone that bakes. And maybe this baker boy could, um,… bake me a new job?’

The bitch stopped our money.

We went back down the pub.

Soho Theatre gig – the pre-match interviews!


Live Aid.

The Sex Pistols at Manchester Trade Hall.

Oasis at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut.

Twonkey at the Soho Theatre.

This is your chance, folks, to say you were at one of the most influential gigs of all time. Twonkey plays the Soho Theatre on Monday 17th March, and if you don’t know who he is or why you should go… he previously fronted a cult rock band, he’s an award winning novelist, he’s an award nominated comedian / cabaret artist. And, in our opinion, his CD output this decade is matched by absolutely no one. The man can do everything.

Tickets can still be purchased from:

A few weeks ago, Mr. Twonkey appeared on a couple of short radio interviews with Arthur Smith promoting the gig. They have long since vanished from the online archive, but here they are preserved for all time.

The first, including Arthur Smith reading Knackered Old Twits:


The second, featuring an exclusive performance of Goat Girl:


Move heaven and earth to attend this gig! You wont be disappointed. Roll on Monday!

The Gargantuan Guide to Gasp! (2013) Part 1

Finally, the Playboys with Hunchbacks Complete Guide to Gasp!, the latest CD from Paul Vickers and Friends. More than anyone ever wanted to know. Due to the large track listing, our rambling, and all the goddang trivia, it will be in three parts. Shortly thereafter, we plan to have a look at the available work of Twonkey’s two main collaborators on this disc, Steven Vickers / Victor Pope and Pierre Chandeze / Carton Sonore.


Anyway, without further ado, a drum roll please for…

The Flying Tailor (with Grant Pringle)

A great album deserves a great opening. And it gets one. A collaboration with fellow ex-Replicant Grant Pringle, it’s a beautifully produced track about Franz Reichelt, a tailor who ‘invented’ a cloth parachute and tried it out by jumping off the Eiffel Tower in February 1912. And fell straight to his death. You can see the whole sad episode on his Wikipedia page. Anyway, Pringle and Vickers have redeemed him and made him fly at last, if only musically. It’s a stunning number, beautifully produced. The style and layered vocals make it sound like a Jeff Lynne production. The moment where the song strips down only to come back as Vickers sings ‘Let’s Make Wings’ a little out of tune is pure musical bliss. What an opening. And it isn’t even the best song on the album!

Trivia: This is the part where Playboys With Hunchbacks tells you what it all means. What are those mad references to oranges and marmalade all about? Erm… looks like we’ve fallen at the first hurdle. I’ve no idea. The following line, ‘Let’s make wings out of poly bins’, however, refers to Vickers and Pringle making their Flying Tailor prop for the Blue Cadabra show. Reichelt used  fabric, not binliner, for his home-made parachutes, not that it made much difference to the final result. Perhaps the oranges and marmalade are inside jokes between the creators. Twonkey originally changed the date of this tragedy in his pre-song story to 1915, I assumed for aesthetic reasons. But at the last Blue Cadabra gig, he corrected it to 1912. It’s important that the world knows this.

Blue Cadabra (with Dan Mutch)

It wouldn’t be a Paul Vickers album without at least one what-the-fuck moment. And you don’t have to wait long for it here. A weird musical collage, most of the lyrics are indecipherable. And it’s over before it has really begun.

Trivia: Despite appearing to partially name-check his 2013 show, I reckon this track could date back to his first, Twonkey’s Cottage, as that is the only one named in full. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually see the 2010 show. Not discovering Twonkey until a year later is something that will haunt me to my grave. And, with a bit of luck, beyond.

Grow Into Your Clogs (with Pierre Chandeze)

The return of the majestic Paul & Pierre. Four tracks, same as we got on the last album, although this time two are musical backing to Twonkey Tales, and the other two are proper songs. Not that you can complain – Pierre’s work is perfect as a backdrop for Twonkey’s surrealist ramblings. As is the case with many of these stories, it might be brief but covers a lot of ground. And by introducing us to Lilly Vumper, leads nicely into the next track.

Trivia: There may be a mistake in the recording. Fitz’s Uncle Sandworm appears to have a name change to Uncle Sandwich later in the track. Is this some Pulp Fiction style intentional ‘meta mistake’? Or just, you know, an error?

Lilly Vumper (with Steven Vickers)

A great, energetic song with a vocal which sounds like it was recorded as Vickers was running for a bus. He appears to be unsure of when to come in and it courts chaos throughout. Fabulous. It was one of four previously performed but unreleased tracks I really wanted to see on this CD. All appeared!

Trivia: The track was previously known as ‘Lilly Bumper’ and performed during Twonkey’s Kingdom the year before with a different back story. Involving knickers.

The Talking Oven (with Pierre Chandeze)

The second track with Pierre, and once again it’s a ‘Twonkey Tale’, not a song. But what a track! Detective Edward Mugs should get his own TV show. He kicks arse! Vickers’ gruff vocal performance is perfection personified and it’s both a little creepy and bloody funny. A spoken word classic.

Trivia: The backing track by Pierre Chandeze  was used for a performance of Paul’s ‘Knackered Old Twits, as read by comedian Arthur Smith on BBC Radio 4 Extra (broadcast 28/02/2014).

The Cat Shop Catastrophe (with Steven Vickers)

Despite Mr. Twonkey being a comedian and musician, I often have to tell folk that he doesn’t have a catalogue of ‘comedy songs’ like Weird Al Yankovic, even if his wit can be detected in most of them. Well, here’s the exception that proves the rule. Try listening to this without a smile on your face. Can’t be done. A comedic delight from start to finish, it’s about someone shopping for a cat purely to deal with his rodent problems. As you do. Another high energy home run from the Vickers brothers.

Trivia: Hmmm, a funny one this. I tried to do some digging, even asking Mr Twonkey outright about the genesis of this number. It’s from his 2010 Fringe show, Twonkey’s Cottage, apparently. But play it back to back with later track Charabang and it sounds like they’re variations of the same number. Both were produced a few years apart with different collaborators, so it’s just a co-incidence. Go on, play the first 15 seconds of each in succession and you’ll hear what I’m on about.

The Cockney Hungarian Ghetto (with Roger Simian)

God knows where the title came from, but this is a variation on an earlier piece, Dancing Jim, which was recorded in a high voice (here slowed right down) for the first ‘Twonkey’ album, Fucking Storys in 2010. It has since also appeared as text in its original form in the Itchy Grumble book. The story, about an elephant chimney sweep, is now a little wackier and put to musical backing for the first time. It works wonders with the new vocal and added sonic atmosphere. For me, it tops the original.

Trivia: Right. We can give you the lowdown on this one. Why the changes and the resurrection of Dancing Jim? At the Twonkey Variety Night in December 2011 (a fantastic night out – well worth travelling 400 miles for), Vickers debuted a new comedy routine in which he read out the original Dancing Jim. Then, as the gag went, he would read it again after it had been put through an internet translation engine into French. And then back again (and morph, and morph and forth). Great little comedy set-up, that. However, this is Paul Vickers we are talking about here. So he picks an esoteric piece from his Twonkey Tales back-catalogue, the aforementioned Dancing Jim, which was in kinda broken English to begin with. And the translated version? Not really that much different to the original. Therein, I think, lay the gag. Perhaps a little too out-there for your average audience. Not like that always stops him, but it didn’t make the cut into the actual show several months later. Anyway, he made a recording of the ‘translated’ version at some point, and this is it.

The Gooseberry Tree (with John Callaghan)

Twonkey’s 2013 show gets a choired-up theme tune with this great track. It references ‘Twonkey’s Empire’ which was the original working title of 2013’s Blue Cadabra. I’m no expert on recording techniques, but its hard to imagine they hired out Abbey Road and the BBC Symphony Choir to do it. I’m sure some kinda computer trickery was involved to create the sound of a choir, but it sounds wonderful. Despite the name change, this track still opened the shows in 2013.

Trivia: Twonkey’s collaborator on this track John Callaghan is in a musical duo called Eccentronic, who play the Fringe Festivals. His partner in the band was ‘working the door’ in Brighton for the Twonkey’s Kingdom gig I attended. I only remember this as when I bought some CDs, she said she’d once been in Dawn of the Replicants. Which she had. Anyway, there’s the connection. And according to Twonkey’s blog, Mr Callaghan will be back in 2014 with a spruced up version of 2011 classic Hot Beryl!

Coming in Part 2… Paul’s two cents on Scottish Independence, a theme song for this blog, and, quite simply, the best track of the decade so far.

Twonkey nominated for TO&ST Award!!!


Twonkeys Blue Cadabra has been nominated for a TO&ST Award, which stands for Time Out & SoHo Theatre. The Award is judged by a panel including Kate Copstick, celebrity reviewer from The Scotsman. And the prize seems rather amazing as well – a two week run at the SoHo Theatre! Team: Playboys With Hunchbacks could attend every night!!! But we wont get carried away just yet, as on paper there is just a 20% chance of victory. However, the nomination itself is a step in the right direction, whatever the result.

It is perhaps going to take something like this for the world at large to recognise the utter magnificence of Twonkey as much as we do. I think, at least if he doesn’t win, this could be the start of such things being a regular occurence for him. Not that he’s a stranger to Awards in general – it was this time last year that Itchy Grumble won a book competition leading to publication.

Twonkey has uploaded most of the early Twonkeys Blue Cadabra coverage on his blogspot, so no need to duplicate some of that stuff here. Reviews so far have been overwhelmingly positive, and this in a year when they seem to have become much tougher on the acts. I read a few reviews from shows which went down well and even appear to have won over the reviewer… then got three stars. Others have been lucky to get two. The evergreen Tony Law’s* heart is apparently not in it anymore (The Scotsman) and Mike Wozniak, my favourite show this year (other than Twonkey of course), barely scraped by on three stars.

Anyway, here is another link to Twonkey’s blogspot and all the recent reviews / coverage. Like waiting for a bus, Twonkey shows and CD Guides will be uploaded here in a day or two.

Good luck to Twonkey!

*Tony Law’s Tony Soprano impersonation should have bumped his show to a three star minimum on its own. In his latest show, he asks the question ‘What are Black Hole’s accents like?’ which has more than a whiff of Paul Vickers asking ‘What does the Holy Grail sound like?’ on his recent album Gasp! Do great minds think alike, or is Tony a closet Twonkey fan?