My football song intended to inspire Rochdale FC
Jimmy Cricket writes about football chants in his latest newspaper column.
The June article in the Lancashire Post begins: “The other morning I was eating my breakfast and it was going, snap crackle and pop, which surprised me. It was a kipper.
Then for some reason football songs came into my head. You know the ones fans sing to cheer on their favourite team. I don’t mean the things they chant like, ‘What a load of rubbish’, or, “There’s only one ‘insert coach or manager’s name here.’
No I mean the songs they adopt from other sources. Take the jazz classic, When the Saints Go Marching In, Manchester United fans have changed it to, When The Reds Go Marching In. West Ham fans have hijacked an old Music Hall song called, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, and wait till you hear this:
My son, who is a catholic Priest, (he calls me dad and I call him father), was given a a treat a few weeks ago when one of the parishioners in Salford invited him to Liverpool’s ground Anfield, to watch them take on Leicester City.
He said when the home crowd broke into, You’ll Never Walk Alone, the emotion was palpable. When my other son Dale, took his family to Portugal recently they went to see Sporting Lisbon play and the home fans were singing My Way.
All this is leading up to a secret I want to share with you: Many moons ago when I first arrived in my adopted town Rochdale, the local football were languishing at the bottom of their division and I, like a lot of club comics at the time did jokes chronicling their ineptitude.
Things like, I rang Rochdale Football Club and asked them what time was the kick off this coming Saturday. The voice at the other end said, ‘What time can you make it?’, and there’s more. The steward saw two guys climbing the wall at Rochdale Football Club. He shouted, ‘Hey, you two get back in and watch the match!’
Lancashire theatre almost as famous as the Chorley Cake itself
Jimmy Cricket has been telling readers of his monthly column about a small theatre which has “a warmth and atmosphere all of its own”.
The even-green Northern Irish comedian writes about working with Chorley Little Theatre in his latest column in the Lancashire Evening Post.
He begins: “While visiting Chorley recently, I made it my business to go and see the Little Theatre. Nestling slap bang in the middle of town in a place called Dole Lane, it’s so quaint and cute, you could see why it’s getting to be almost as famous as the Chorley Cake itself.
“It opened in 1910 as the Empire Electric Theatre with a capacity of 700. The less well-off sat at the front on wooden seats, while the posh people were able to put their feet up at the back in ‘plush seats.
“It originally showed silent movies with a live pianist accompanying the action. These piano players were special in the way they interpreted the scenes, using light-hearted music when the characters were happy and dramatic notes when danger struck. What a lovely era that must have been, sitting with your friends passing round the popcorn looking up at the big screen and laughing hysterically at the comedic exploits of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.”
Jimmy finishes off his column by saying: “With a fully licensed bar and car parking facilities just across the road the 236 seater has a warmth and atmosphere all of its own. I know that from playing it myself a few years back.
“It’s run by a team of enthusiastic volunteers and spearheaded by a young man whose passionate about live Theatre called Ian Robinson.
Tickets for Jimmy’s show at the Chorley Little Theatre are £10 concessions £5, Box Office: 01257 284362 for more information visit their website: www.chorleytheatre.com
Paying tribute to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
Jimmy Cricket writes about his admiration for a legendary comedy duo in his latest newspaper column.
In the 1 April edition of the Lancashire Post, the popular Northern Irish entertainer reviews a recent film about the careers of Englishman Stan Laurel and American Oliver Hardy.
They acted during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema and became well known during the late 1920s to the mid-1940s for their slapstick comedy. Laurel played the clumsy friend of the pompous Hardy.
Jimmy’s column begins: I’ve just come back from doing my one man show at the Slapstick Comedy Festival in Bristol at the Studio adjoining the Old Vic Theatre. The festival was started by a guy called Chris Daniels who just loves visual and silent comedy.
“I did my live set sandwiched between movies of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy up on the big wide screen. There’s been a resurgence of interest in Laurel and Hardy, mainly due to a biopic of the duo which went on general release in our cinemas recently called Stan and Ollie.
“In fact, I’ve been to see it twice. Well folks, our local Odeon Cinema here in Rochdale only charges a fiver to get in. It’s a moving, tender tribute to one of the funniest double acts ever to grace the silver screen; not only do Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel, and John C Reilly as Oliver Hardy get into the skin of these two lovable clowns, but the ladies that played their wives both give stunning performance as well.
“Nina Arianda plays Stan’s other half and Shirley Henderson is Ollie’s. I had a little inside information on this film. Steve Coogan’s Uncle Bernard takes his grandkids to the same school in Rochdale that I take mine, so I get some tasty nuggets of gossip in the playground.
“I looked at him enviously as he told me about getting the red carpet treatment when he got invited to the premiere of the movie up at the local cinema in Ulverston where Stan Laurel grew up. The only time I get to see a red carpet is when Mrs Cricket hands me the Hoover.”
June Whitfield – a ‘great actress and lovely lady’
Jimmy Cricket has been sharing his memories of his good friend, comedy actress June Whitfield, who died at the end of last year.
The comedian devoted his latest monthly column in the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post to the late English radio, television and film star.
Jimmy told all his social media followers about his column, saying: “Hi folks I had the great pleasure of working with this great actress and lovely lady the late June Whitfield here is my tribute to her!”
His LEP column read: “The death of June Whitfield at the great age of 93 closes the chapter on one our best ever comedy actresses. In a career that spanned more than six decades, June brought so much joy and laughter that, for many of us, it was not just losing a brilliant performer, but losing a friend.
“You have to go right back to the 1950s to find out when June first got the nation’s chuckle muscles rippling. Radio was king then and June could be heard on a popular show called Take it From Here, penned by Frank Muir and Dennis Norden. She could also be heard on a weekly segment called The Glums, playing Eth, the daft girlfriend to equally dim witted partner Ron, (played by Dick Bentley).
“Her timing and vocal inflections were such that I almost envied the studio audience who were there to witness it in the flesh. She then went on to play straight woman to some of the best comedians of the last century. Tony Hancock, Frankie Howard, Benny Hill, to name but a few.
“So how come when comedians can be a neurotic bunch, (I should know), and always worried about other people getting to many laughs, did June get the gig, so to speak?…”
Sharing some nostalgia on my great friend Phyllis
Jimmy Cricket has been reminiscing on social media with some photographs relating to theatrical agent Phyllis Rounce.
In addition to managing Jimmy, Phyllis also looked after the careers of other stars such as Rod Hull and Emu, and Tony Hancock.
Hull was a comedian, best known as a popular entertainer on British television in the 1970s and 1980s. He rarely appeared without Emu, a mute, highly aggressive arm-length puppet modelled on the Australian flightless emu bird.
Hancock was a high-profile comedian and actor during the 1950s and early 1960s, enjoying major success with his BBC series Hancock’s Half Hour, first broadcast on radio and then on television.
Famous entertainer Jimmy posted the pictures above recently, adding: “Sharing some nostalgia here with my great friend and personal manager Phyllis Rounce who was with me when Variety was King on Television and out there with live performance!”
Speaking in his monthly column in the Lancashire Evening Post last summer, Jimmy said that Phyllis – known as Phil to her friends – was an “exceptional manager who went the extra mile for her artistes”.
He described her as “one of the all-time great theatrical agents in the world of showbusiness”.
LEP column: Bruges trip and play goes on the road
Jimmy Cricket has been telling Lancashire Evening Post readers about his eventful festive trip to Bruges and giving them an update on his new play, No More Fiffing and Faffing.
The popular Northern Irish comedian’s first LEP newspaper column of 2019 was published on 7 January.
He wrote: “I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year and you didn’t lose any sleep over Brexit.
Speaking of which, I went to one Christmas party and we did the Brexit Hokey Cokey – it was in, out… and we didn’t know what to do after that.
And there’s more. I did hear one story about Christmas morning that a friend told me – his seven-year-old was opening his presents when suddenly he shouts across the living room floor: “Dad, I think Santa Claus has moved house.”
My somewhat surprised pal says: “What makes you think that son?”
“Because,” says the boy, “It says on this toy. Made in China.”
As I didn’t have a panto, I was able to have a more restful festive season.
Christmas in Bruges is delightful. The fairy lights and decorations that surround the market have a unique style, especially when lit up at night. You have to make sure you have your thermals on because it can be a bit nippy. Of course, there’s always a nice restaurant nearby ready to fortify you with a hot chocolate.
In the daytime you can stroll over bridges with flowing rivers for company and drink in the gorgeous Belgian architecture.
Local inhabitants love their bicycles, and you can see folk of all ages cycling along their merry way.
The name begins and ends with R. Of course, it was cheap. But that was the only positive thing it had going for it. Although we were lured into going Priority, it didn’t stop the security guys rifling relentlessly through our cabin luggage. Saying a tearful goodbye to your shaving foam at 4.30am in the morning at Manchester Airport isn’t the most pleasant of starts to a holiday.
Although I did get to keep the aftershave lotion, but it was a close shave.
We didn’t really strike it lucky with the hotel, either. Two lights weren’t working in the bedroom. A wheel was missing from the bottom of the bed. The kettle in the room wasn’t working.
Just when you think it can’t get any worse it did. The toilet was blocked.
The next morning, armed with an extensive list of repairs, we headed downstairs.”
Find out more about Jimmy’s play, which will be performed at The Met in Bury (23 February), Chorley Theatre (19 May), the Bridlington Spa (18 July) and the Gladstone Theatre on The Wirral.