He smiled, wielding the marker pen in his hand as I approached at the end of the show. "Great to see a Thotch t-shirt" he said, gesturing with a nod to my chosen attire. I mumbled my thanks. "Yeah, I don't get any money for it," he replied. "But still great to see"
Ever since The Fast Show, I've loved Simon Day. Most recently of course, he's almost singlehandedly kept BBC4's comedy output going with the various mockumentaries about his Gabriel-esque prog rocker and former Thotch frontman, Brian Pern, so I leapt at the chance of seeing him perform live at Liverpool Philharmonic's Music Room last week.
Day was performing four of his best loved characters; Billy Bleach, the bubble permed know-it-all from The Fast Show and 2003's underappreciated single series sitcom Grass; Geoffrey Allerton, a fey voiced Yorkshire poet who could conceivably be the lovechild of Alan Bennett and Philip Larkin; Tony Beckton, a Charles Bronson style notorious hardman and habitual prisoner; and lastly Brian Pern himself.
A sell out show, this was a nicely relaxed and very funny evening with much to appreciate from all four comic creations. I'm still chuckling at Bleach's observation that a buttoned up Fred Perry means you're a mod, whereas if you undo that top button you're just a fat bloke, and his anecdote about how he keeps his infant son amused with the Nintendo Wi game Hangman, in which you play Albert Pierrepoint; "it teaches him Maths, cos he's got to guess the drop". The Zapata moustached Beckton regaled us with tales of tunneling out of maximum security prisons in the '70s via a David Essex poster, whilst Pern entertained us with his poignant hit I Wish I'd Told My Dad I Loved Him Before He Died and his humanitarian anthem to save the bee population, The Honeycomb is Over. But it was arguably Allerton who provided the most laughs for me with his various poetic odes, one of which can be seen here from the TV series Bellamy's People
It was Allerton's poetry anthology that Day was selling and signing after the show which saw him spot my Thotch t shirt. It was a privilege to spend just a couple of minutes with the man, to say how much I appreciated the show and to say what his candid autobiography Comedy and Error personally meant to me. But then it was off into the bitterly cold night and a rail replacement bus service home. Oh well, at least Allerton's words kept me chuckling along the journey.