[larry [infield’s one-man extravaganza is a bit more than one man. Along with his two most successful creations. ‘Loadsamoney' and ‘Stavros’. comes ‘Buggerallmoney'. his northern antidote to South-[Last yuppiedom. and ‘Sir [larry Stocracy". an earlier invention who first saw the light of day on The Tube. But [larry [infield the person is nothing like any of the products of his fertile imagination. lle denies being reflective. but he is angry with the world. ‘I don‘t make a secret of my politics. People ask me about them. so I tell them. But I don‘t consider myself to be a political comedian.‘
To some. his characters are less than squeaky-clean. however: "I'hey ask me about Stavros. and say "ls he racist?" and then I have to talk about racism and our attitudes towards it and how we deal with it. which is a political thing to talk about.‘
This may sound like the talk of the ideal man to champion the cause of socialism. sell it to the masses. but
[infield is somewhat cynical. 'l'm not a member of the Labour Party. but I was involved in the student bit. I've never actually joined. because I used to get so pissed off by all the officials. I went to Party [[0 in Walworth Road to do something once. and all these people there. so self-confident. so smug. lt scented to me they had no right to be smug about anything. having failed three times. 'l'hey should be worried.‘
llarry [infield maybe an ‘alternative‘ comedian. and his ‘Loadsamoney' creation is certainly a product of"l‘hatcherism. As he says. ‘let's face it. he is 1988.‘ But the term can be misused. ‘Alternative to what'.’ Suppose there was some political upheaval which brought about a change in (iovernment with Neil Kinnock in Number ll). Would people expect [infield to have a go at Kinnock'.’ ‘lt wouldn‘t make any difference. When punk was happening ten years ago. it was against the (iovernment. it was “we're on the dole and we haven't
On 13 November it will be Sunday Night Live at the Glasgow Pavilion for Harrv [:nfteld. But hlS creations Stavros and Loadsamoney have attracted some controversy — he explains himself to Mike Barnett. Photo by A..l. Wilkinson.
WHAT’S HARRY .RTH
got a fucking job”. and then Labour was in charge.‘ With a resigned expression on his face. he says. ‘I don’t really see a Labour (iovernment as any different from the Conservatives. The Labour Party is caught up in its past. [don't have any faith in the Labour Party at all.‘
It is maybe a fault of the Labour Party that they would be unable to harness the talents of this man. who appears to appeal to a certain section ofthe public like few others. He is aware that the sort of people he is parodying are the very same people who could be enticed to see one of his shows. "l‘hat doesn't really worry me. because I think it‘s very short-lived. It was the saute for Rik in The Young ()IIL’.\. Look at him. he was a coward. a bighcaded self-centred wanker. but everyone was going round “being Rik".l certainly was. But that doesn‘t mean I wanted to be like him. People like having the piss taken out of them.‘
But the success or otherwise of
‘Loadsaimmey‘ could have been so different. As Friday Night Li re. currently being repeated. showed. ‘l.oadsa money" received a welcome far more guarded than was to be the case on his subsequent appearances. "I'he first Friday Night Live. people didn‘t know who the fuck he was or what he was doing. They didn't know. I didn‘t know. but it built up after that. [lad it not worked in the context of the programme. had it not gone as well as the other acts. they wouldn't have let me do it. but they thought it went well enough to let me do it again. and it just took off.’ This wasn‘t the case with his ‘(‘heeky (‘hirpy Cockney". the I‘Mlls‘ time-warp paper seller who made a brief but inglorious appearance.
[infield began his career after studying politics at York University. following the well-worn path to Edinburgh. where a few stand-up slots with fellow students led to some radio script writing and subsequent work on the London cabaret circuit.
‘We started going to the clubs. asking if we could do ten minute slots. They either like you or hate you. but London's the only place where you can have a go if you want to — you don't have to have been to Oxford or Cambridge. lfyou‘re good you can get up and have a go. and even if you’re crap you can still get up. And if they like you they‘ll book you and give you forty quid.'
'l‘he ‘raunch with the paunch.‘ as Ben lilton dubbed him. then graduated to Friday Night Live. ‘[jigliteeii months ago I didn't see myself going on a forty-day tour like this. ljust thought this was experience of telly. and there's nothing more frightening than live telly. And it’s a job.‘ And work is one thing he‘s not short of nowadays ‘I turn down a lot of work these days. I work for myself. and I know what I want to do and what not to do. If something comes in for sitcoms. I won't do them. I've been offered my own series by a few companies. and I won‘t do them yet. But I know one thing — I won't be doing 'Loads’ in a year’s time.‘
[infield talks of ‘Loads' as though he were a friend or brother. rather than a comic creation of his own imagination. He doesn't underestimate the accuracy of ‘l-oads‘ and the fact that he could only have been created today. and in today's social climate. ‘What‘s wrong with society today. is that there is a massive great gap. 1 mean. the attitude of ‘Loads' is wrong. the “I don’t give a fuck about anybody else" attitude. People say I'm responsible for lager louts or whatever. but that's a load of bollocks. I do the character to reflect what I see. not the other way round.‘ Nevertheless. the tour is sponsored by a lager company. [lolsten. [infield is suddenly all sheepish. and pauses: "l’hey‘re a very noble company.‘
Hurry [infield is a! the Glasgow Pavilion on [3 Not: See ('aharc! [ . islings.
The List ll — 24 November 1988 7