Once more round the sun and it’s that time again to look back at the top of the pansy crop. For some reason, matters medical and mortality caught the imagination this year. On a happier note, stepping back in time to renew old acquaintances and bear witness to vows ’til death they do part also proved popular. So ladies and gents, I give you…
It’s with enormous sadness that I’ve just heard about the death of Victoria Wood from cancer. She was, quite simply, my kind of act. Her body of work was astounding – TV sketch shows, stand up, sitcoms, musicals, plays and films (both comic and straight) – all containing the same depth of wit and unsentimental pathos that set her head and shoulders above the rest of her (mostly male) peers. Victoria Wood saw humour in the humdrum, the extraordinary in the everyday. She was a breath of fresh air from both the misogynistic old dinosaurs of her early career and the new breed of angry comics who thought shouting expletives at you was funny. And, she was generous with her words, giving her best lines to the talented cast of people she always kept close, Julie Walters among them.
I’m so pleased I got to see her (twice) at the Albert Hall back in the day. Victoria Wood has kept me laughing through four decades.
To (badly) quote the glorious Victoria Wood, you know you’re getting old when you walk past a shop window displaying a pair of Scholl sandals and think to yourself Ooh, they look comfy. I had a similar revelation when I was thumbing through an Independent on Sunday glossy supplement and came across an advert for flatulence filtering underwear called Shreddies. And there was me thinking breakfast cereal made from wholegrain wheat. But then too much bran can brew a lusty whiff, so perhaps that’s the association. And while we’re on the subject of our grey days, why are the models advertising a product obviously targeted at the winking-sphincter brigade, young and lithe with rings of steel?
To honour International Women’s Day (8th March), we plopped through the puddles on a blustery night to watch a quintet of female comics. The gals with gags strutted their stuff for the ‘Lady Haha’ show at the Playhouse, Norwich (a fab bar with a theatre attached). Generally, I’m not keen on stand up – a bit too hit and miss or too clever by half in my experience. I needn’t have worried. The acts – Grainne Maguire, Amy Howerska, Vikki Stone, Diane Spencer and headliner, Tiffany Stevenson – tickled my ribs with their bawdy take on feminism, racism, gingaphobia, relationships, dating, men, oversized willies and orgasms (or lack thereof). These funny ladies of the night are going places.
PS: I was a tad disappointed not to see Aisling Bea who was originally billed to appear, mainly because she sounds like a sickly insect.
PPS: Vikki Stone is a younger, filthier version of the superlative Victoria Wood and is quite a hit on You Tube. This is one of her lewd tunes. Best not watch if you’re easily offended.