0h, he’s hip-hop all right, is our Ben, with his three days stubble on his chin, his crystal specs and impeccably ersatz South London diphthongs. ‘llave halt my rock cake,’ he said, proterring a brick-coloured concrete-based pastry which appeared to date backto the Pro-Cambrian era. How easy it is to bribe the modem British journalist. . .
Ben, the Comedy Store veteran, alternative quipster and co-writer ot TV's The Young Ones and the Blackadder series, and I were sitting cool-as-trozen- broccoli with our Doc Martens on the table in the New Bond Street headquarters oi his record company, Phonogram. Very alternative is New Bond Street. Full ol the revolutionary classes. All those pudding-laced women jangling with gold bangles and their smarmy men sat in the gleaming Jags: they're just undercover agents trom Class War. Myjoke, nothis.
Our Ben, slight build, but intimidatingly powerlul voice, is promoting his new record, Motormouth, so it means three solid days ot balls-aching chit-chat with smooth-toned radio DJs, ott-the-ball provincial hacks and the odd tace-to-tace interview. There's money in it somewhere, elsewise there would be no rock cake hall and Phonogram would not be based in New Bond Street. But it’s pretty boring and Ben has his pitch to make about the album and
the good deal he's giving the punters wit his otlicial programme and how doing so many Nicaraguan benetits cuts down on the market tor his gigs. . .
ile pumps out his quotes and jokes, his Cattord vowels cracking and spitting, the whole discourse bolted together with ‘tucking hell's', like rivets on a ship. And the tunny peculiar thing is that neither oi us are particularly interested.
The conversation, such as it is, wanders around violence in Britain; we touch on Ben‘s well-tumed yuppie crack: ‘l'd rather not be mugged on the way to the squash court’. It's a subject close to my bruised head, because only the other day some nasty little nint beat me up in The Strand. Elton whip-cracked: ‘That’s your personal Orgreave.‘
He's very last on his verbal pins, as belits a tormer compere ot the Comedy Store, the late night venue which was a maternity ward tor a whole new generation ol ‘altematlve' comedians, who said goodbye to Irish, mother-in-law and sundry jokes and said hello to jokes about Ronald Reagan and Mrs T.
Elton puts a good share oi the blame ottoday's blood-lust on Mrs T, the Falklands, la-de-dah, and he‘s all on auto-pilot. But what about the Falklands, I ask, wanting to irritate him ott his scheduled word- track. One oi the war's consequences is that the disgusting Argy junta was booted out and replaced by decent-enough democrats.
Surely whatever one thinks ot the Grantham Mangler, that was a good thing?
Elton breaks ott. ‘Heh, this is getting a little confrontational here. I'm just a comic and I'm here just to talk about comedy.’ Well, so we are and so we do, leaving that point unanswered. And so he‘s oll, talking about comedy. lie's good on comedy and a bit oi passion enters his voice tor the tirst time in our natter.
‘Good comedy should come trom honesty. it you just take borrowed ideas, that Irish people are stupid orthat women’s tits are funny, then I ilnd that just mind-numbineg boring. Why doesn't Les Dawson do a set about Chernobyl? That would be brilliant.’
Elton generously rates Bernard Manning as a sinister genius, but his palm tor all-time great goes to Eric Morecambe, an unlikely hero tor a Prince ol the Unconventional. But then the conversation closes its eyes and returns to its zombie content, him chanting lines about the evil oi the limited ownership ot the national press, me scribbling it all down in indecipherable longhand.
His publicity man, Ted, wanders in and mercitully puts visiting halt-hourto an end. Next up is a phone interview with the Northampton Evening Post. Poor man: he’s got hack- latigue. (John Sweeney) Ben Elton is at Edinburgh Playhouse on 7 Nov and Glasgow Pavilion on 8 Nov. See Cabaret listings.
‘Motormouth'. an album is released on Phonogram.
Political and other meetings and events.
Dance the night away.
Complete theatre listings plus previews and reviews.
2 GUEST LIST
People in the new this fortnight plus a new column by Sheena
Classical 23; Folk 24; Jazz 26; Rock 27.
The twin brother Scottish band talk to Alastair Mabbott about their
Comprehensive gallery listings.
The versatile star of Mask and Witches of Eastwick talks about her career.
The young people‘s listing section.
Local sporting highlights.
7 LOSER’S BLUES
Allan Hunter talks toa brave Glasgow ‘short‘ ﬁlm-maker about his new ﬁlm.
This fortnight on the small screen and in the wireless box.
Edinburgh and Glasgow cinema listings
Following last issue‘s feature on style , a guide to Glasgow and Edinburgh fashion shops.
Publisher Robin Hodge. Editors Nigel Billen. Sarah Hemming. Associate Editor Allan Hunter. Design Simon Esterson, Advertising & Circulation Robin Hodge. Steve McCullough. Sheila MacLean. Accounts Georgette Renwick. Richard Gray. Typesetting Jo Kennedy and Hewer Text, Production Editor Paul Keir. Production Assistants Sheila MacLean. Mark Fisher. Rosemary Goring. Art Alice Bain. Books Alan Taylor. Classical Music Carol Main. Dance Alice Bain. Film Allan Hunter. Folk/Jazz Norman Chalmers. Kids Sally Kinnes. Nightlile (Edinburgh) Stuart Raikcr. Nightlile (Glasgow) Gordon Neil. Open Sarah Hemming. Radio Sally Kinnes. Rock (Edinburgh) Alastair Mabbolt . Bock (Glasgow) John Williamson. Listen! Alastair Mabbott. John Williamson. Sport Kenny Mathieson, Television Nigel Billcn . Theatre Sarah Hemming, Camera Edinburgh Make-up Services. Cover The Proclaimers Cover Design Nigel Billen and Paul Keir.
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Robert Dawson Scott goes public on a divine new
I suppose that in Reformist Scotland we shouldn‘t pay too much attention to the Archbishop ofCanterbury. crypto-papist that he is. But his remarks at Exeter Cathedral over the weekend about the spiritual message hidden in the recent meteorological and financial havoc which has afﬂicted the south east of England are worth pursuing. We have surely all already realised that these were not simply the products of low atmospheric pressure over the Bay of Biscay and high blood pressure over Threadneedle Street. Easy to conclude that the wrath of the Lord of Hosts is indeed terrible
and swift, that it was all a divine judgement on the lamentable morality of the headlong pursuit of short term profit and so forth. After all is it not written ‘He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it‘ (Ecclesiastes — but ofcourse you knew that.)
Easy, then. But wrong. The spiritual message that the Archbishop was talking about is more likely to be the sort that comes in bottles marked 70 Proof. For he knows and I can now reveal that all this is the prelude to the biggest share offer yet.
First some background. You have to understand that the main advantage of selling offthe family silver is not the money, useful though it is for those trinkets down on Holy Loch. It is to get shot ofany responsibility for whatever it is when it goes wrong. Ministers at the Home Office must be laughing all the way to the House of Lords now that they can safely say ‘Nothing to do with me, guv' as the latest wave of complaints washes over B .T. Now where the Tories lead, others have followed. The Labour Party have
sold off their troublesome left wing; you may have seen reports from the first shareholders meeting in Chesterfield at the weekend. The idea has gone further. It has even reached the guy who is in charge of the most reviled institution in British public life; the weather. He has had it with all us moaning minnies — it’s too cold, it’s too wet, it’s too windy, it’s too unpredictable — and He’s getting out. Yes sir, God, that great unreconstructed monetarist (remember all that stuff about rendering unto God that which is God’s) is going into the privatization business and His first flotation — they know what I mean in South Wales and Northern Ireland - is British
Once you know that, the rest of it falls into place. The hurricane was an advert, first in a series designed to persuade us to tell Michael Fish that the power behind the world’s favourite rainstorm is a ﬂying airport; not so much Be Part of it as Get Wet in it. The current selling craze on the world stock markets is because everyone is going liquid in
order to be well enough placed to snap up the new equity when it appears. Well, wouldn‘t you like to know that next time the football’s rained off, at least you‘re making money on it. And theArchbishop is hitting the gin because he‘s got a priority application form. Which is
Precise details of the offer are currently a bit misty with just a touch of ground frost in sheltered areas. It’s thought that the high-tech electrical engineering division known as Lightning will be sold separately but doubts about the status of world energy requirements may mean that the solar power subsidiary which is only profitable in periods is held back until the clouds hanging over its future have been blown away by a stream of hot air
moving in from the south. However the outlook is for more settled
A prospectus is available, issued by David Jackson Young and Freres (who thought of it) on behalfof H.M.G. (That stands for His Mate God, by the way, not the other lot).
The List 30 Oct — 12 Nov 1