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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

That Peter Kay Thing

So, last weekend I went to Manchester to watch my one true love, Peter Kay.

I first discovered (when I say "discovered", I merely mean flicked through the TV one night, I don't mean I introduced him to the nation) Peter Kay almost ten years ago when nobody knew who he was and I stumbled across a mockumentary based in a Bolton Bingo Hall, followed the next week by an episode called "The Ice Cream Man Cometh", about a turf war between two ice cream vendors.

Straight away I fell in love with his observational humour about working-class, everyday life, and from then on I followed his every move like only a stalker could.
I became word perfect on all of his material and on one occasion, drove through gale force winds to see one of his gigs. Even now, every time I watch an episode of Phoenix Nights I notice something new, whether it is the carefully chosen background music, a funny prop or a comment I've not heard before, it is as if every element has been crafted to perfection.

He was, quite frankly, one of the funniest people I had ever met. Except, I hadn't actually met him.

Anyway, a couple of years ago I started to get a bit narked off at the amount of times he re-hashed old material into Christmas Special DVDs, and wondered if he was ever going to do anything new.

That spoof reality TV talent show he did was genuinely hilarious in places, such as Paul McCartney playing the Home and Away theme tune at the piano, but something was missing. He had bought his Mum a bungalow now....Had my beloved sold out?

My sister introduced me (again, in the hypothetical sense) to Michael McIntyre and I started to forget all about Mr Kay until one day a few months ago when Mr G phoned me excitedly to tell me there was going to be another tour. Only it wasn't going to be a proper tour. It was just going to be a series of gigs in Manchester.

Great. We couldn't risk him not extending the "Tour That Doesn't Tour" to other venues and dates, so we managed to get some tickets. Shortly after, he announced he was playing in Cardiff, which would have been a whole lot easier and cheaper for us to get to but ho hum it was done now.

I'd been slightly apprehensive about seeing him again because it was so long since he last produced something new and I just didn't think his heart was in it any more, but I needn't have been concerned.

We arrived at Peter's former workplace, the Manchester Evening News Arena, to find that Rick Astley was the support act. A bit bewildered at first, this was in fact an inspired booking. I found myself enthusiastically singing along and learning some pretty natty dance moves to "Never gonna give you up.... **Points hands in air**... never gonna let you down.... **points hands downwards**... never gonna run around.... **makes universal running motion** and desert yoooooou ...**points towards imaginary recipient of affection**.

The audience went wild for Rick's "Manchester Medley" featuring an eclectic selection of songs from Oasis, Take That, Simply Red, The Bee Gees, and about a million other people who I never knew were from Manchester. It was quite literally, unbelievable.

So then it was time for the main event, Peter Kay himself, who I am thrilled to report was back on form to his original and best, boy-next-door, observational style. He looked so comfortable on stage and effortlessly told stories as if they had just come to him, but of course had been meticulously developed in advance.

He updated his usual topics, such as funny things his elderly nan says, "Did I tell you about Edith upstairs who fell and broke her hip?" "No" "She fell, and broke her hip"; to tales from his school days "there was no such thing as ADHD or dyslexia when I was at school. We just had a thick table." as well as some new subjects - Facebook, Sky Plus, Blue Ray, sprinkled generously with his brilliant attention to detail. I did not stop laughing for two hours, to the point where it started to hurt. My love for PK is well and truly back ON. But I won't ruin it, if you weren't lucky enough to get one of the 750,000 tickets before they sold out in about three minutes flat, I'm sure it will be out on DVD soon enough.

So yeah, I'm sitting on the fence a bit really...

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