People's Poet Laureate Plays Adam Smith Theatre

Archived news: published on Thursday 29 May 2008 by Fife Council

John Hegley

John Hegley

Peculiar, unpredictable, hilarious, genius, the chaotic comedy of John Hegley, the People's Poet Laureate, comes to Kirkcaldy's Adam Smith Theatre when he appears with internationally acclaimed cellist Jeannette Mountain and arranger/composer/double bassist Jamie Manson in a charity gig in aid of Steeple Arts Centre, Newburgh.


John, like many acts which have gone on to greatness, was discovered by John Peel as part of the band The Popticians, in 1983.  Hegley now enjoys a cult following among fans of subversive comedy, and is well known for his surreal poetry, aired often on Radio 4 and performed across the land, often set to music, which the poet writes and plays himself. He is also a successful author, with 7 books published, including Glad to Wear Glasses, published in 1990 and followed by six further titles, filled with verse, prose, drawings, drama and photographs of potatoes.


At 41, John, who claims to be directly descended from the 18th century Baroque composer Jean Philippe Rameau, may be described as a Spike Milligan for our time. He shares the stage with two classical musicians, one of which is an old school chum from long ago.


Internationally acclaimed Jeanette Mountain is from a distinguished Yorkshire family. She took up the cello at age six and went on to train alongside Joan Dickson and Amaryllis Fleming at the Royal College of Music. One of her most notable gigs saw her perform a Vivaldi concerto for two cellos with Heinrich Schiff in the Suntory Hall, Tokyo.


Jeanette last saw John when they were both children at Rodway School, near Bristol, in the early 1970's. She has nothing in else in common with him apart from the fact that they are both (very different) musicians and that she is a great fan of the man and his work. She says of the forthcoming gig, which will be mainly improvised on the spot:


"I'm thrilled to be working with John at last after all this time, but I'm also absolutely terrified! Knowing him, anything could happen and probably will"


John's press quotes include: "Awesomely mundane" from The Independent, while Jeanette can boast "Cello playing at its best" from the Hexham Courant. The performance, at Kirkcaldy's Adam Smith Theatre on Friday 13th June at 7.30 pm, is billed as "Two old friends doing their different artistic things separately". Little of the show will be scripted or rehearsed, although composer/arranger double bassist Jamie Manson, who will appear with the pair, has agreed to arrange some pieces for them to play together.

The event has been arranged by the Fife Arts Co-operative in aid of the newly-opened Steeple Arts complex in Newburgh. All the performers are offering their services free of charge.

The gig takes place in Kirkcaldy's Adam Smith Theatre on Friday June 13, 7.30 pm and tickets cost £10

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