BURGER V THE SUNSHINE SUPERMAN

Sadly the burger won…

donovan-xlarge_trans++eo_i_u9APj8RuoebjoAHt0k9u7HhRJvuo-ZLenGRumAMy oldest and dearest friend Duncan is a bloke who was so utterly daft in the sixties (as was I) that it’s hard to believe he could have found employment at all, let alone hold down an impressive international position, advising local government in Ukraine, and writing worthy books on the subject. Not like the tosh I churn out occasionally. And before you ask, he had nothing to do with the fact that Ukraine won Eurovision this year.

So far, dear reader, you are asking yourself (or discussing it at length in a crowded smoky coffee house) what has the Duncan character got to do with the title of this pithy article. That’s pithy. Well the answer is this. When I heard that Donovan of Catch the Wind (1966) fame was doing a seventieth birthday gig at the London Palladium, I naturally thought of inviting the Ukraine connection along, instead of dragging poor long suffering Cathy to the event. Then she said she’d like to go – it could be as unexpectedly good as the Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon.

So it was all fixed. Said lady came back from school early (she’s a teacher there – she’s not that young) and we left to make the incredibly early 7pm start. On the way we established that the spectacular, with its inevitable Mellow Yellow, Sunshine Superman, Jennifer Juniper playlist was to actually start at 7.30. All parked up, quick taxi ride to the venue, and we were standing outside the theatre just before seven.

“Just time for a burger” said Cathy, with her usual knack of saying totally the right thing at the right time.

Commercial break now. Five Guys is simply the best burger joint we have ever been to. Maybe a little expensive, but when you see the size of this double burger with its melted cheese, heavenly crispy bacon, wide choice of add-ons, and chips that must have shared the bacon’s bus ride from heaven, you know. You just know.

We polished off these masterpieces quicker than they deserved and dashed to the Palladium, only to be told the show didn’t start until 8pm. Regretting the fact that we had rushed those prime examples of the burger master’s art, we repaired to the bar. Oh well, we still had Donovan to regale us with his beautiful pure voice.

Not so. We got in and were told by a miffed fan that the man wouldn’t be on until nine. A stupid girl bounced on stage doing a totally indifferent rap about Donovan’s life and seedy past, which made me regret Cathy’s presence. More deep regrets were to follow. A classical guitarist came on and played for ages, followed by a poet who read some Dylan Thomas for some unknown reason. Presumably because he was Welsh and Donovan’s Scottish. Daft girl bounced on again and introduced an antique poet who spouted out such utter drivel, annotated with wailing noises on a kazoo, that we once more repaired to the bar. We weren’t alone. Soon there were more people in the bar than the theatre. Someone said it was like a school concert.

The word soon got round that Donovan wasn’t coming on until ten past nine.

Could we stay awake?

You know that business when you aren’t expecting too much and it turns out to be wonderful? Well it wasn’t like that. The man sung most of his songs in a turgid tuneless manner, reminding me of other superstars who should have been told to quit ages ago – like Paul McCartney. Nothing was added to those lovely old sixties songs. Loads was taken away by bad singing, boring name dropping stories and, I suspect, a total lack of interest. Sad evening. Albums going to be put on the naughty step when I got home. Not even a programme to buy. Hmmm…

Home for a midnight drink and an Eastenders catch-up. Wot’s goin on?

PS: you may remember that I have mentioned my award winning animated version of Edward Lear’s The Jumblies a few million times? https://goo.gl/4htAyd

Well I had the idea of following that triumph up with another Lear piece, The Owl and the Pussycat. On the HMS Donovan album is a lovely little musical version of said poem and I thought this would make a great soundtrack for my next adventure. I got in touch and he said he would rather not, as it was about to be the fiftieth anniversary of his launch on Ready Steady Go and there was bound to be a fuss, loads of publicity, and a distinct possibility of an animated Owl and the Pussycat. Any news of that?

And Don, should you happen to read this, I’d still love to do it and my videographer Alan is all keyed up.

That’s when you’ve paid us back for the theatre tickets of course…