What a bloody Pantomine !
I first did panto a few years ago when I joined a radical theatre group who , instead of the usual stuff like Puss In Boots or Cinderella , decided to put on a pantomime version of the Marquis De Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom .
It was an all- star cast with myself , Christopher Biggins and Spit the Dog . With Biggins in the cast I really took notice when the kids shouted out ” he’s behind you ”.
Anyway , it got rather mixed reviews and only lasted a couple of performances before the council pulled the plug. Luckily some of the cast were able to get other jobs straight away. Biggins called me into his dressing room and told me that he ” had Aladdin ” .
I thought I’d have to spend a miserable Christmas with no money but out of the blue I got a call from Cliff Richard. He needed a support act for his latest tour. He had dropped the The Shadows and shacked up with anarchist co-operative Crass to perform his greatest hits in the punk style. It wasn’t really my cup of tea but I was glad of the work. He sang new versions of old classics like We Don’t ***k Anymore , C*****g Holiday and F****g H*** T** P****e A** F*****g C***s.
I had met Cliff before and he had been a boozer on a massive scale. He was always causing havoc in a fancy Wetherspoons somewhere with his mates Moony ( Keith Moon ) , Olly ( Oliver Reed ) , Besty ( George Best ) and Pinky ( Pinky and Perky ). There wasn’t a day go by when Sir Cliff wasn’t downing his own bodyweight in egg nog and chasing skirt like it was going out of fashion.
But somewhere on this tour he discovered Jesus and all that changed . He claimed to have been visited by God in his hotel room late one night. God talked to him about the path of spiritual enlightenment and that if he didn’t get back with The Shadows he’d be sent to Hell for eternal damnation.
Cliff immediately ditched Crass but joined a passing religious cult who had decreed that the world was going to end on December 13th 1977 at 6.19pm . Right in the middle of chuffing Crossroads !!! Cliff told me to get myself down to their underground bunker to escape the apocalypse - but it was the episode when , amongst other things , two-timing dentist Reg Molar fell foul of Jill Harvey’s female intuition and Doris Luke informed the kitchen staff about her botched hysterectomy .
When I looked out of the window ,as the closing credits rolled , the world appeared to have survived .
Next day Cliff looked a bit embarrassed. He said he’d been taken in by the wild claims of a cult leader called Darren Blenkinsop. Blenkisop had at various times claimed that we was the real son of God , that he had healing powers , and that he was the first man in Stoke to have a Findus Crispy Pancake .
We completed the tour and went our separate ways. I didn’t think anymore about Cliff until he popped up in 1988 with the Christmas Number 1 : ” Mistletoe and Wine”
After just one listen I realised it bore an uncanny similarity to one of my own songs which I had performed on that fateful tour …” Camel- Toe and Wine ”.
The tune was the same but clever Sir Cliff had craftily changed a few of the lyrics to give it a seasonal theme.
My original version had this chorus :
” Closing time , camel- toe and wine,
legless slapper pissed to the nines.
There’s a tart by the fire , asleep on the floor
I can see strange shape in the front of her drawers”
I can’t say too much more about it as it’s in the hands of my solicitors but you can make your own minds up.