Monday, 3 November 2014

When I go to London I use a street guide from 1969 admittedly it’s a little out of date. I am increasing feeling the need to buy a new map as parts of the city are looking like something from out of space not that I’ve ever been there only in my dreams.
I’m wondering if someone could help me locate the area of London I got lost in making my way to Shoreditch for my headline slot at the CONFUSE comedy night.
I remember a church on the corner with the smallest belfry I have ever seen about size of a shoebox the rest of the church appeared to be a normal size. In front of this hardly foreboding shadow lay a small graveyard all the tombstones looked like the branded wooden ones you see in films about the Wild West.
A monk was making his way around the cloisters chanting ‘Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow’. He disappeared through a door that said fisherman's lodge. I picked up a seashell in the garden and it was blue as octopus ink with what seemed like a copper inner coating. A loud banging was coming from inside the fountain of a beer-drinking bear under a Bavarian bus shelter. The clouds turned an orange kind of black. A low hiss could be heard coming from the drains.
Then the bell rang in the tower such a sweet little sound like a cat playing with wind chimes on a summer day. Then and I swear this is true a tiny rust covered submarine popped out of one of the snouts at the top of the fountain and ran around the parameter line of the drunken bears tear stream.
Later at the gig I told people about this mysterious place and many believed I had been to Clapham. Anyway I stormed the gig by all accounts, which means I’m due a beating somewhere along the line. London’s house was full and the crowd lapped it up. I made new friends and chewed the fat with old chums. It seems being trapped under fishing net is something I’m going have to work into my next fringe show in a big way, as it was key to my overall success. I’m pleased as punch to announce my 2015 fringe show will be called Twonkey’s Stinking Bishop it came to me in the catacombs of Clapham if indeed it was Clapham.
A big cup of thanks goes to Edward At Last for having me.
Quizzical Creatures - An Alternative Pub Quiz returns for Christmas with Mr.Twonkey, Lottie and Mr. Chris.
The 8th of December kick off at eight only £1 at the door. Woodland Creatures 260 Leith Walk Edinburgh, EH6.
Just when you thought the traditional pub quiz had fallen prey to telephone technology, dodgy hosts and general boredom...we've twisted it's melons and are proud to present Twonkey’s Christmas night of puzzles, film, songs, far out thinking and other such nonsense. Prizes include: mysteries, trinkets and traumas. It'll be a pub quiz with a difference, like a blankity blank Christmas special, imagined by an ewok spinning on the mastermind chair in the Valley of the Kings'. The last one was a hit back in October so get down and find out why.
Paul Vickers and The Leg also enjoyed a good old Fence knees up for Halloween. Anstruther’s court of King Creosote let us bang and boom in the Dreel Halls. It’s always Halloween in P.V and The Leg land so playing a set fit for a monster moon is easy work for us. The snap below sums up the feeling in witching hours as cobwebbed ghost ships floated on the horizon.To quote The Cheeky Girls touch my bum this is LIFE.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Edinburgh Fringe 2014.
Twonkey's Private Restaurant
Fringe Guru Four Stars.
As the ship’s wheel draped in underwear reaches the furthest corner of the room… yes, you did read that sentence right. There really is a ship’s wheel, it really is draped in underwear, and just as it reaches the furthest corner of the room an uncomfortable silence descends. “If that music were longer,” observes Mr Twonkey, “it would make the act look just a little bit slicker.” He’s right – but making his act look slicker would entirely miss the point of this inexplicably compelling show.
Mr Twonkey – real name Paul Vickers – is something of a fixture at the Edinburgh Fringe, and this year’s instalment of his absurdist ramblings is as impossible to categorise as it’s always been. Perhaps it’s comedy, though there are few out-and-out jokes and they’re all truly terrible ones. Perhaps it’s cabaret; there are certainly plenty of songs, delivered with passable tunefulness and undeniable flair. But it is, in the end, just indefinably Twonkey, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Vickers’ character is itself an unmistakeable presence, clad in a bizarre combination of a faded dress-coat and a chef’s hat. We are, after all, in Mr Twonkey’s restaurant, and he duly introduces us to the remainder of his staff: an avaricious cat, a stuffed-toy lion and a clairvoyant, whose predictions are both very specific and spectacularly wrong. I venture to suggest there are few other Fringe shows where you’re invited to have your mind read by a pair of knickers, or randomly asked to insert your hand into a hollowed-out pumpkin. On the night I attended, the pumpkin seemed to like it.
At times, you suspect it truly signifies nothing. But then suddenly, there’s a heartfelt song about how Mr Twonkey’s wife was stolen by Mussolini – it makes a kind of sense in context – and you realise there’s a real rawness there, a real pain. Like the best nonsense poetry, the meaning is elusive, but feels only just beyond your grasp. Search for it if you want to, or just sit back and gasp at the unadulterated strangeness of it all; either way, your night will be both oddly entertaining and utterly bizarre.
Vickers’ blundering with props occasionally tried my patience – I’m sure it’s intentional, but it’s easy to go too far – and, at risk of over-analysing the whole experience, his constant fiddling with an iPod didn’t exactly help willing suspension of disbelief. So there’s a part of me which still can’t believe I enjoyed this wilfully lo-fi brand of storytelling… but if you let yourself surrender to it, the surreal nonsense that defines Twonkey’s Private Restaurant might just point the way to a slightly more joyful world.
Time Out Four Stars.
Mr Twonkey has the lolloping gait of an ageing dungeon master, the fusty wardrobe of a man reliant on charity shop cast-offs and the face of a potato. He speaks, almost exclusively, in epigrammatic statements, the logic of which originates from some dark place within the Twonkeyverse. He also sings. Or rather, wails like he can’t help it – with spluttering passion and closed eyes. He comes across a bit like David Bowie, except he doesn’t have the looks, or the slick production, or the magnetic charisma, or the anthemic songs. That just leaves the pomp and the nonsense, which, luckily, are the areas in which Mr Twonkey excels.
The word ‘strange’ tends to lose its meaning in Edinburgh. Ostensibly, it’s strange that this show works so well – it’s a dog's dinner of unexpected, absurd, even offensive content. But it’s also a classic Fringe show; a steaming pile of twaddle which feels right at home in this rainy city, and which, if you brave its depths, will leave you simultaneously shaking your head and grinning ear-to-ear. So who is Mr Twonkey? And should we be afraid of him? In that distant land, ‘real life’, he’s the character creation of Edinburgh’s own Paul Vickers, a musician who was once a favourite of John Peel, and who has released several albums of messed-up pop songs with his current band, The Leg. Since 2010 he’s also been on the Fringe, using his comedy alter-ego to stage absurdist kids’ shows-cum-cabarets, with typically batshit songs throughout. He is harmless (probably), though fond of a dark nursery rhyme and a challenging sexual concept. In this way, his act falls somewhere in between the dry, deviant poetry of Hilaire Belloc and the smutty northern showmanship of Vic Reeves. It’s a good place to be.
The show – which this year is loosely themed around cooking – comprises snatches of peculiarly resonant verse (‘The world didn’t end when you said it would. But sometimes the hand goes missing in the glove.’) Nods towards the psychedelic spookiness of classic kids’ TV (‘Oh look, it’s afraid o’clock!’) And moments of sex education (‘A wank is as harmless as a single cigarette. But a steel shoulder fisting can be as deadly as anthrax.’) All delivered with the help of a puppet called Chris Hutchinson, a bank of budget sound effects and a collection of questionable props. At one point a ship’s wheel is produced, covered in Primark knickers. At another a member of the audience is invited to fist a pumpkin – at which point an eager bald bloke leaps up and slams his hand into the gaping gourd. Mr Twonkey gazes on, unmoved. This is serious business, not an opportunity for stag do exhibitionism.
Take a step back and what you’ve got is an overweight bloke in a chef’s outfit singing daft songs. It’s all credit to Vickers, therefore, that when you’re faced with his ‘sexy ship’s wheel’, festooned with affordable lingerie, the impulse is not to recoil in confusion, but to lean forward and grab a pair. Point being: surreal comedy isn’t half as easy as it looks. To get it right you have to fully believe in the world you’re creating, and be generous enough to teach others its language.
Sometimes, little bits of established wisdom do seep in, like the famous Dolly Parton quote: ‘It costs money to look this cheap’. It seems incongruous when it’s used by an ogre holding a flea-bitten puppet, but (as with everything in this show) the sense is buried in there somewhere, deep down. Over the years Vickers has perfected a form of expression which is wholly his, and it’s taken a lot more time, effort and money than you’d think. Here’s another quote from the show, this time a Vickers original: ‘It takes guts to be wrong.’ Again, he’s right. The Fringe is packed out with performers attempting to find bold new directions. It’s a braver man, however, who lets go of the wheel entirely. Or covers it in pants.
The Scotsman Four Stars.
What a delight to enter the inexplicable world of Twonkey. A red and white hot-air balloon flies over our heads. Fortunes are told with a ship’s wheel and some knickers. And we watch a German woman fisting a pumpkin.
Mr Twonkey, aka Paul Vickers, aka former front man of indie pop band Dawn of the Replicants, is a one-off. Wearing an old-fashioned black and red frock coat and a squashed chef’s hat, Mr Twonkey invites us into his restaurant for an evening of refined dining and entertainment. His characters are a moth- eaten Seventies lion, called Chris Hutchinson, a very hairy lady who has no name, and a revolting ragged cat called Hanratty. Twonkey fumbles with his puppets, attempts ventriloquism spectacularly badly and tells a bizarre and mind-boggling tale involving time travel, Mussolini and a disastrous dinner date.
There are lots of new songs. Vickers is in fine voice and he is more musically eclectic than ever before. He performs a duet with Hanratty, who sings in Italian, he croons a love song to the puppet lady, there is a Spandau Ballet-esque number and a Hawaiian-style remix of his popular song Hot Beryl. He even attempts a dance routine – jogging backwards and forwards across the tiny room, trying not to get out of breath.
There are, he says, very few jokes in the show. But there is something naturally funny about Mr Twonkey. If you get it you will laugh and laugh. If you don’t, you will be completely confused and slightly terrified. The trick is to sit back, relax, stop worrying about what any of it means and allow yourself to be carried away by a sublime cloud of nonsense. Once you tune in to Radio Twonkey there is no going back.
In the same way that Cheers is the bar where everyone nows your name, Twonkey’s is the one with a maitre d’ who knows where you live. Serving a clientele consisting of of “lost backpackers, the demented or murderers”, we’re welcomed into the surreal world of Paul Vickers. Clad in 19th century charity shop chic and a chef’s floppy hat, he’s operating a tiny balloon which, if you suspend disbelief, is central to the plot of tonight’s tale of time travel, puffer fish and dictators – the inedible in pursuit of the unfathomable. Or something.
It’s a musical with a difference – a string of strange set plays and stranger chat and decidedly sinister props, and when all three come together, well, that’s where the music comes into play. We’re served up duet between Vickers and gruesome rat / cat / head chef hybrid Hanratty, then a love song for what might be a lion called Chris and a unnamed hairy-arsed ‘green lady’ who isn’t, we’re told, all that keen on humanity.
Terrifyingly for the backpackers (though maybe less so for the murderers and demented present) there is also audience participation – a ship’s wheel festooned with Primark knickers from which Vickers divines the audience’s recent love trysts (and, eventually, becomes entangled in). There’s also pumpkin fisting (happily, not an euphemism)
The thing is, the tunes stand up as in the same way that even his most left-field material with Dawn of the Replicants and The Leg contained chart-friendly pop hooks – albeit done karaoke-style on this occasion, with accordion and off-kilter rhythms more likely to trouble a top 40 in another world where The Residents are kings of daytime radio.
But yes, Twonkey’s is the restaurant at the end of a parallel universe where a “hot beryl” (half beer, half gin with a Hawaiian-style pineapple in it) but whose effects wouldn’t rival the hallucinogenic properties of Twonkey’s musical menu.
Come the end the backpackers are sated and the demented are in fine fettle, and more than wiling to pay the suggested Free Fringe donation of a fiver – a punch in the mouth the other option offered by Vickers but seemingly even the murderers present have been entertained, or baffled, into submission.
And lets not forget those Four stars from Broadway Baby earned at Brighton Fringe back in may.
This show is mind-boggling from start to finish. Mr Twonkey (AKA Paul Vickers) dressed up, messed up and fessed up to looking a bit homeless. It was a dialectic of the believably unbelievable. During the first song, a hot-air-balloon containing ‘Sophie the Aeronaut’ was swung from a stick and Mr Twonkey’s mic cable propelled props off the table. We glanced sideways and raised our collective eyebrows.
The atmosphere changed from nervous to pure confusion and on to an acceptance of the crazy and quirky antics of the Private Restaurant. The hodge-podge of props, costumes, and strange songs played on Mr Twonkey’s mp3 player felt like the stuff of a primary-school kids party. Any stiff upper lips were determinedly creased into smiles as the nonsensical performance unfolded. Hanratty, the disgusting, balding cat/hyena/racoon, was full of surprises. He talked, sang (sometimes in Spanish), made squelching noises, and generally made his views known whether or not Mr Twonkey got the microphone to his whiskery mouth in time. Mr Twonkey’s other two side-kicks, a lion-jockey who bore an uncanny resemblance to him and a green… thing… with legs, chatted and flirted. If anything, they were a tad more conventional than Hanratty and Mr Twonkey .
From the song Ooooh Trifle, which consisted mainly of those two words, to the more lyrical Hot Beryl; Half Beer, Half Gin, the music was absurd to say the least. Anyone with sensitive ears or perfect pitch be warned. Even if you don’t enjoy the music, you certainly won’t be able to help yourself sharing Mr Twonkey’s enjoyment. He closed his eyes and danced like a stag at a karaoke club. If you’re lucky, you might get to clutch a pair of Primark knickers or get intimate with a plastic pumpkin. Anything’s possible…

Friday, 18 July 2014

Twonkey’s Secret Edinburgh Picnic Trail plus Giddy World the album on U.S.B available at all Twonkey shows 2014.

Step One:
No one can afford to eat in posh restaurants these days with one in four living below the poverty line so why not pack a picnic basket.

Use hooks and leather straps to attach the basket to your back, the best foods to use are light ones such as meringues and bananas. Use a flask that locks onto your key ring and take a flagon, which you can attach to your hat using Velcro or even honey.

Step Two:
Choose a route that is enjoyable and scenic why not start at the Water of Leith by Saint Bernard’s well. In Victorian times they believed the spring water that sprouts from under the frescoed dome had healing properties until they later realized it was in fact contaminated it’s now closed until further notice. Why not cut about near the waterfall and enjoy the exotic wildlife maybe around this time you should think about ripping into your first banana. Why not throw the skin to a greedy pelican or swan.

Step Three:
Get the 29 bus that leaves from the vintage cheese shop in Stockbridge and travel to Gilmerton Cove. The cove is one of Edinburgh’s best-kept secrets. Nobody, even the staff that work there really knows what it was built and used for. Could have been a blacksmith’s forge, a smuggler’s lair, used for sex parties or the final resting place of the holy grail your guess is as good as anyone else’s. The useful tunnels and tiny rooms look like Tatooine from the first Star Wars movie. Sit by the famous punch bowl and try and eat a whole apple in one bite remember no cheating or else you’ll be cursed.

Step Four:
Get the bus back into town get off at the old cheese shop Mellis. This time go in celebrate the end of your trail by ordering some crottin de chavignol.
This small cylindrical French cheese has been produced in the Loire valley since the 16th century. Why not pop over to the sandpit in front of the 1960's housing scheme and munch away on your intoxicating bounty. Enjoy the drunken old men as they play French bowls or petanque let your heavy eyes slip into a pleasant slumber.

Who needs The Edinburgh festival? Forget it for a while and maybe enjoy that second banana.

Paul Vickers and Friends- Giddy World (2014):

1.Giddy World (with Keith Baxter)
2.Pissed as a Postman (with Pierre Chandeze)
3.Mother Shipton (with Steven Vickers)
4.Creepy Restaurant (with Mike Small)
5.The Breakfast Clock (with Pierre Chandeze)
6.Croc in a Swamp (with Pierre Chandeze)
7.Pub Quiz Answers
8.Candy Shop (with Jamie Scott and Mike Small)
9.Sophie the Aeronaut (with Pierre Chandeze)
10.What’s in the Pot?
11.Hands off Mussolini (with Massimiliano Puddu, Hamish Hawk and Steven Vickers)
12.Pissed as a Postman –The Play
(with Connor Jones, Abbye Eva, Robin Hellier, Edgar Guerreiro, Greg Dodgson and his papa) 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

'Wild Apricots' or 'Notable by my Absence'
An interview with Chris Hutchison about missing out on Paul Vickers and The Leg’s Trip to Yellae Deuks.

How long have you been working with Paul?
Chris: I have worked with Paul very closely for what seems like a 100 years. We are known as Sherbet and Chilli it’s a pet name used by acquaintances. Like Paul I’m a local entertainer but I have more strings to my bow as I’m also a jokey and from out of space like all jockeys. This means I have a love of competitive breeding and there’s always little bit of fudge tablet waiting for me at Cape Canaveral.

Why did Paul refuse to take you to Anstruther for the Fence Do Yellae Deuks?
He's an arsehole and a deeply troubled artist of no real value. I was greatly saddened and had all my paraphernalia already packed into Pete’s car. At the last minute he stood me up in the ice cream parlour. He’s very exited about the new Paul Vickers and The Leg album ‘The Greengrocer’. The original title for the album was ‘Sherbet and Chilli’ I don’t need to give any clues where he got that idea from what a complete arsehole. Paul feels the new record has the hot air choke of chilli but with the sweet aftertaste of Sherbet dabs.

How much has Paul let everyone he knows down overall?
Chris: It’s hard to measure that accurately. His approach has always been let other people do the hard stuff so he can essentially just twat about over the top of it. He claims to have written a book, which was actually written by ghostwriters. He has that poor lad Pierre Chandeze in Paris working in a sweatshop of the rue cortot composing songs for his fringe shows he hasn’t slept for weeks. The Leg have worked tirelessly on the new album and just like Dawn of the Replicants before them they work long hours in an underground hovel drinking pissy nettles as their only mild form of nourishment.

What is your favourite watering hole?
Chris: The White Horse it’s little bit of a run along the coast road. The good thing about is Paul hardly ever goes there. So it’s a safe heaven way from his constant droning on about getting things ready for a show, a book or an album. His life long collaborator brother Steven can often be found there just enjoying the sun gently shimmering through the door as it cascades into tiny fractured light particles of hope.

The curtain is rising but are the vegetables cooked?
Chris: The boys have all been magnificent and we are all going for a slap up lunch at The White Horse to celebrate with any luck Paul won’t turn up. Then again saying all of that if you lick him just under the chin he lets of a sweet scent not to dissimilar to wild apricots and not a lot of people know that.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Twonkey’s Private Restaurant.
Brighton Fringe 2014:
Showtime: 19:15 (60 min). MAY 3-5. The Temple, The Upstairs Bar, 121 Western Rd, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2AD.
Edinburgh Fringe 2014:
Showtime: 20:45 (60 min). 31ST of JULY to 24 AUGUST, Apart from the 12th. Espionage, Mata Hari, India Buildings, Victoria St, Edinburgh, EH1 2EX.
“A bearded Fantasist” ★★★★ Time Out.
TO&ST award nominee for best cabaret Edinburgh fringe 2013.
“Makes Edward Lear sound like the Six O’ Clock news”
Kate Copstick TO&ST judge.
Mr.Twonkey has this to say about his new show: Before the Internet on days out in Whitby I would have a lot of fun playing with the fish and chip paper making a vinegar mask. I would spend all my pocket money on a huge bottle of vinegar and soak the mask. Meanwhile under the coarse damp paper my face was beetroot red and aggravated. The sea serpents would circle like vultures hungry for fish and chips. That's when I had the idea that I would love to run my own restaurant called 'The Salivating Sea Serpent’. So here we are and we’ve got soup of the month and catch of the fortnight. We are busy as a corpse opening times only when we are feeling cheeky.
“A surrealist’s wet dream” ★★★★ The Skinny.
"A true comic original' ★★★★The Scotsman.
The Lovechild of Brian Blessed and Betty Boop give's you his new tasty vision. Mr.Twonkey AKA Paul Vickers is mad as cricket bat and fast as a silver hare. Its surreal act of twisted songs, adult fairytales and games that feature elaborate props.
His goal is to mix funny anecdotes and heartfelt moments creating an enjoyable uniquely Twonkey vision of a better world. Twonkey is fresh from the Soho Theatre and as well as appearing on Arthur Smith’s Radio Four Extra show.
"A psychedelic trip" ★★★★ Exeunt.
"Eloquent nonsense" ★★★★ British Theatre Guide.
Pictures:Toby Long.

Monday, 24 March 2014

What A Night:
Goodbye Twonkeys Blue Cadabra but in style at Soho Theatre London 17th of March 2014.
Thanks for all the flowers backstage I don’t like orchids but I will make do.
Check for trap doors no northing. Wait a minute, there’s something wrong with one of your eyes. Oh hang on; it’s fine when compared to your other eyes.
I briefly had a flash back there, of cutting through Twonkey’s stomach, like a coco pod Tarzan with Genghis Khan’s dagger. Then out my velvet sack as if by magic I pull out a tiny set of clogs. ….WOW. What happened to the big clogs? they most have shrunk or been replaced.
All these ingredients are invisible that’s because they are emotions. This for all those people who attempt the impossible in there lives such as window cleaners.I bring out Flying Tailor prop and push the device into action and then start to sing.
Who shot a whole film with buckets for legs?Who? Who? Who? You collect snails you believe that if you hug them they turn into horses. Am I close?I dance around the stage with Hilda wearing a fake nose swinging an umbrella about as a nightmare of stiff saxophone riffs fills the room.What a wonderful night thank you London Soho Theatre you have been a lady.Plus a big slap on the lips to Radio Four Extra and Arthur Smith for having us on his show Twice.
Antony Oudot The Reluctant Paparazzi man.