The Livo Lounge 004 – Parabhen Lad (Long Finger Bandits/Common Ears)

This week’s guest is Liverpool based musician, writer and singer Parabhen Lad discussing her work and life in general.

‘The Livo Lounge’ is a new filmed podcast hosted by Michael ‘Livo’ Livesley, known from his one man show based on Vivian Stanshall’s ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’ recorded live in the heart of Liverpool’s Lark Lane.

You can find out more about Parabhen and her work at http://www.longfingerbandits.co.uk/ and For more details on The Livo Lounge and other assorted nonsense please visit www.michaellivesley.com and www.facebook.com/thelivolounge Follow me on Twitter @MichaelLivesley

The Livo Lounge 003 – Roger Appleton (Looking for Lennon)

This week’s guest is my old college lecturer, Liverpool based documentary film maker Roger Appleton, talking about his work including his current film ‘Looking for Lennon’.

‘The Livo Lounge’ is a new filmed podcast hosted by Michael ‘Livo’ Livesley, known from his one man show based on Vivian Stanshall’s ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’ recorded live in the heart of Liverpool’s Lark Lane.

You can find out more about Roger and Looking for Lennon at http://www.brightmoonmedia.co.uk and getbackfilms.co.uk Follow Roger on Twitter @RogerAppleton

For more details on The Livo Lounge and other assorted nonsense please visit www.michaellivesley.com and www.facebook.com/thelivolounge

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelLivesley

Audio only podcast available here;

The Livo Lounge 002 – Martin Dempsey & Ste Lamb (The Gentle Scars)

Hello, good evening and ey up! For the second Livo Lounge we dip our toes into the murky swamp that is the Lark Lane Music Scene and pull out a few ‘live ones’ Martin Dempsey and Ste Lamb of the band ‘The Gentle Scars’. The chaps discuss their careers and adventures including amphetamine fuelled charity cricket matches with Motorhead and let rip on life, the universe and everything. Great fun!

‘The Livo Lounge’ is a new filmed podcast hosted by Michael ‘Livo’ Livesley, known from his one man show based on Vivian Stanshall’s ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’ recorded live in the heart of Liverpool’s Lark Lane.

You can find out more about The Gentle Scars here https://www.facebook.com/thegentlescars/

For more details on The Livo Lounge and other assorted nonsense please visit www.michaellivesley.com and www.facebook.com/thelivolounge

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelLivesley

Audio only podcast available here;

The Livo Lounge 001 – Big Wow

Evening all! Well it has taken a wee while to get the studio built and get up and running but The Livo Lounge – my new filmed podcast recorded live in the heart of Liverpool’s Lark Lane – is now open for business. Here is the first episode for your amusement. An interview with those legends of Physical Comedy ‘Big Wow’ aka Matt Rutter, Tim Lynskey and, fresh from his runaway success ‘The Big I Am’ at the Liverpool Everyman, Bob Farquhar – to talk about their years of devising and performing.

‘The Livo Lounge’ is a new filmed podcast hosted by Michael ‘Livo’ Livesley, known from his one man show based on Vivian Stanshall’s ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’ recorded live in the heart of Liverpool’s Lark Lane.

You can find out more about Big Wow here and you can follow Bob on Twitter

For more details on The Livo Lounge and other assorted nonsense please visit www.michaellivesley.com and www.facebook.com/thelivolounge

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelLivesley

Audio only podcast available here;

Or listen as a podcast here;

Shedcast 02 – Hector and the Catador

For this second Shedcast I go all Jackanory with ‘The Adventures of Hector and Mary – Hector and the Catador’ – an everyday story about a couple who live in a lighthouse. Mary has the enormous Hector on a diet as today is the day he gets weighed at the lorry park. However, trouble arrives along the way when Hector gets a whiff of the new Artisan bakery….

The Parrotopiate of the Masses!

Good day all!!

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve had the time to post. Despite a paucity of live shows this year it has still been one of the busiest years I’ve known due to the writing, recording and producing of Parrotopia! My first collaboration with Lord Rodney Slater of The Bonzos. In total it was a gestatory 9 months, but a very jolly one! The CD is now available to buy here or if you prefer to ‘try before you buy’ you can do that here.

A full field report shall be forthcoming in a few weeks when I drag Lord Rod into the shed for a good long gab about the whole process. Meantime here are a few bits of press we’ve done to give you a flavour.

Interview with Arthur Smith for BBC Radio 4 Extra’s Comedy Club

Interview with BBC Radio Tees Bob Fischer

Interview with top comedy blogger John Fleming

Prog Rock Mag Review

Until the next time dear chums!

 

Shedcast 01 – RODCAST!!

Finally – after much technical mither – Shedcast 01 is here! An in depth gab in the shed over a pot o’ rosie with founder Bonzo Dog Rodney Slater. We discuss his journey from young newt on the farm in Lincolnshire to the parrot he is today via sojourns  in psychiatry and The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

For more info on Parrotopia – the upcoming debut LP from Rodney Slater’s Parrots – and the upcoming Crowdfunder please visit www.facebook.com/rodneyslatersparrots

I’m also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MichaelWLivesley/

And Twitter @MichaelLivesley

Don’t forget to subscribe!

 

THE RAWLINSON END OF 2015 PICTORIAL REVIEW

Well well, I hope you all had a Merry Crimble? A fine old gorging season was had here at Livesley Towers with copious amounts of festive tuck and grog attacked with alacrity by yours truly and all served with a liberal side order of Bisodol with the stomach pump on standby. So as the final flickering flame of 2015 sputtters its last, and I manfully hoover up as much of the remaining Crimbo goodies as I physically can before midnight strikes and the usual ‘new year new me’ routine begins, thus giving me another stone to lose in the process – ‘gotta get up to get down’ as James Brown once sang – I decided I’d better put the brandy eclairs down for a moment and write up some form of review of this brilliantly chaotic year. Despite employing brevity the following is still quite long – OOER – but how *do* you squeeze 12 months into such a tiny box madam? For the answer to all of this and less you’ll have to read on’t…..

Singing in praise of the late, great Vivian Stanshall at the Bristol Old Vic. January 25th 2015
Me with Stephen Fry singing ‘Sport (The Odd Boy)’ in praise of the late, great Vivian Stanshall at the Bristol Old Vic. January 25th 2015

JANUARY – The year started in spectacular fashion performing ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’ in honour of its late and illustrious author Vivian Stanshall at Bristol’s historic Old Vic Theatre. Joining us were Neil Innes and Bristolian performance artists ‘Desperate Men‘ plus Stephen Fry and Ronnie Golden. You can read a review here. Even as a jaded old sod standing on that historic and ancient stage belting out Viv’s incredible words with Stephen Fry was one of those ‘pinch yourself’ moments that I shall never forget.

Our show was part of Bristol’s 2015 Slapstick Festival, at which next year I plan to give a talk about Mancunian Studios in January 2016. Look at the time, best crack on…

Neil Innes, Barry Cryer, me and Graeme Garden after the Bristol Old Vic show
Neil Innes, Barry Cryer, me and Graeme Garden after the Bristol Old Vic show

…twas brillig and also amazing to meet Barry Cryer and Graeme Garden at the aftershow party who had both been in the audience for our show. Pint in hand I was summoned to be presented to ‘Baz’ who held his hands in front of his face and said ‘Gah! Go away! I can’t even look at you! How *do* you remember all those bloody words?!? Frightening’ High praise indeed from one of my biggest comedy heroes. Anyway, enough trumpet blowing but, y’know, sometimes, you do have to blow your own…

FEBRUARY – a lovely clear month which enabled Bill and I to prepare the ground for the CD release of our stage version of Viv’s classic Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, which I am pleased to say that it will be released next year on Rick Wakeman’s new label  – RRAW – but more news on that later….

MARCH – After such a luxurious and enjoyable month working from home it was time to hit the road again, this time down to Innes Acres in Suffolk, to begin rehearsing with the eclectically fabulous band of chaps Neil had assembled to perform at Camden’s KOKO in April to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Bonzos. Neil had invited me to come and sing in The Bonzos bit – it was a double headline bill of The Bonzos and Neil’s other act the Rutles – and we rehearsed in ‘Cradle of Filth‘s studio space in Ipswich. I can honestly say that singing ‘My Pink Half of the Drainpipe’ whilst staring at a wall littered with ‘Jesus is a C*nt’ stickers is one of the most surreally juxtaposed moments of my life. Now I’m no fan of the Catholic Church, unless you count those 5 years I worked under Pope Benedict in Rome, but even I was shocked by such a statement! Kids eh?

The Bontles
The motley crew assembled by Neil for the Bonzos/Rutles show at Camden’s KOKO. L-R Phil Jackson, Rodney Slater, Mark Griffiths, John ‘The Admiral’ Halsey, Neil Innes, Elliott Randall and me. ‘Rutling’ Ken Thornton was in the toilet. Photo by David Christie

APRIL – saw me and my ‘Austerity Orchestra’ – aka Jonny Hase – back on the road to bring Rawlinson End back to the Laugharne Weekend for another wonderful few days of hedonistic and performance bliss that brought the very thaw to the throte of winter. Magical. That is the only word I can use to describe the place. Despite Jonny and I almost being killed on the road back when this accident, involving the lorry directly in front of us, happened we had a fine old time. It is really very scary to think back to how we only very narrowly avoided being killed that day. Especially when I recall the sight of those big gas cannisters raining down on us. Someone was smiling down on us that day! I told you Jesus wasn’t a…well….y’know…..

KOKO Finale
The view from the stage at the Bonzos 50th Anniversary show at KOKO, Camden, 17th April 2015

Having made it back safe and sound from Laugharne the next morning it was time to head south again for a quick warm up for the KOKO show then on with the motley. It was incredible to perform with so many amazing geezers. After this Elliott still felt the need for more insanity and so signed up to appear with us at our annual Stanshallian celebration at the Bloomsbury in London, this year entitled ‘Radio Stanshall’. The crazy fool!

MAY –  Where was I? Oh yes, Radio Stanshall. This was the last of a trilogy of shows we put on to remind people of the genius of Vivian Stanshall. For the first one in 2013 – Viv’s 70th Birthday Party – we had a 60s theme for the show, so it was Bonzos heavy with a blistering encore of Ginger Geezer thrown in for good measure. Year 2 – entitled ‘One Night Stanshall’ – focused on Viv’s solo years and this year’s final one covered the work the great man recorded for BBC Radio 1’s John Peel show from the 70s to the 90s. Hence the name ‘Radio Stanshall’.

Radio Stanshall Poster Dun
Gracing the Bloomsbury stage with us once again were Rick, Neil, Rod and The Admiral plus new boys Elliott Randall and peerless comedy actor and Viv fan Kevin Eldon. Also joining us was the ever wonderful Susie Honeyman who I am delighted to say has become quite the permanent fixture of our band line up and has played with us at every show since ‘One Night Stanshall’ in 2014. These shows would have been impossible without the incredible people in the show and the ceaseless support of Viv’s son Rupert. Job done!
Radio Stanshall Finale
The Radio Stanshall line up – L-R Ged Fox, Kevin Eldon, Bill Leach (MD), Chris ‘ukulele’ Uff, John ‘no jokes please’ Lewis. Susie Honeyman, me, my concussionist Jonny Hase, Rick Wakeman, Elliott Randall, Rod Slater, John ‘the admiral’ Halsey and Neil Innes

JUNE & JULY – were spent doing lots of DIY, editing, writing, recording, lots of DIY, chilling out, farting, lots of DIY and generally getting pissed, enjoying myself and doing LOTS of DIY. Ace. It’s what summers were made for!

AUGUST – back on the road for a wonderful show at Buxton Opera House. An incredible venue to bring Rawlinson End to and a most beautiful part of the world in general. A delight from start to finish

Me Bill Buxton
‘Well. I’ve played some fuckin’ toilets in ma time…’ Me and my MD and indefatiguable ‘leader of the band’ Bill Leach soaking up the opulence of our beautiful home for the night. Buxton Opera House. Photo by Warren Millar

SEPTEMBER – saw us taking Rawlinson End to the Rye Arts Festival – another delightful place reeking of smugglers coves and the static generated by Jonny Hase’s balloons(!) Very Daftie du Maurier

Pre Rye
Preparing for the show at the Rye Arts Festival. L-R Bill Leach (MD), trumpeteer Ged Fox, the back of Chris ‘ukulele’ Uff, concussionist extraordinaire Jonny Hase – and his balloons – and me

OCTOBER – we assembled from all points of the compass to record the CD version of ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End‘ which will be the first release on the aforementioned Mr Wakeman and Mr Ayling’s new RRAW label. The CD features guest turns from Rick, Mr Innes and Susie Honeyman and is being produced by Wizard of Twiddly and all round good chap Andy Frizell. It will be released next March

NOVEMBER – I met up with renowned comedy blogger John Fleming for another interview at the Soho theatre, recording continued on the Sir Henry CD and rehearsals began for a further 2 nights of Bonzos and Rutles madness in a Christmas Spiegeltent in Bristol and at the Minnellium Dome, yes the Minnellium Dome, in London. It were really grand to perform with such heroes. I do hope we shall all do it again SOON!!

Bonzo Dec 2015 060
The Bonzos crew pre the Minnellium Dome show. L-R David Glasson, ‘Legs’ Larry Smith, Bob Kerr, Neil Innes, Rod Slater, Sam Spoons, Vernon Dudley, Malcolm Sked and me. Photo by Nigel van Beek

DECEMBER – due to a ‘brainstorm’ I had in October plans were made for one final performance of Sir Henry at Rawlinson End of the year at the wonderful Rose & Crown Theatre pub in Viv’s home town of Walthamstow. I can’t recommend this venue highly enough and it proved to be a very special evening indeed.

Vivmas Final Soc

We were joined by Viv’s son Rupert who compered the evening and charmed the audience with his memories of his incredible Pa. It was a fitting way to end this the 20th year since the world parted company with Viv’s genius and one interesting footnote to the evening was that the top drawer guv’nor to the place – a certain Mr Bun Constantinou – turned out to be Rupert’s old Maths teacher. As you can imagine their reunion stirred some incredibly ‘interesting’ memories….

1512_LIVESLEY_1769_HD
Lord Rupert of Stanshall shining light on the life of his top pop at Merry Vivmas! Photo by Lee Wilkinson

…so that’s shallot! 2015, what a wonderful year! I do hope 2016 is even half as good! If you’ve read this far then gawd bless you a gentleman and may I wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2016!!! Thankyou all for your support throughout the year – let’s make 2016 even better!!

Until the next time…..cheers!

 

Slap my Stick! Stephen Fry joining us for our Bristol Old Vic show!!

ONS Finale
The finale from 2014’s ‘One Night Stanshall’ night at the Bloomsbury Theatre where we were joined by Neil Innes, Rick Wakeman, Danny Thompson, Rod Slater, John Halsey, Susie Honeyman, Time Team’s Phil Harding and Frances Pryor, Jim Cuomo, Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer and Vivian’s son Rupert.

Well. It’s been a funny wonderful old year for our show ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’. One that has seen us once again working with greats like Neil Innes, Rick Wakeman and Danny Thompson, and also performing across the land at some of the loveliest venues with some of the nicest people in the biz – and next year is also shaping up to be rather special too. We kick off 2015 in fine style by performing at the Bristol Slapstick Festival on January 25th at the Bristol Old Vic. Yes. The Bristol Old Vic! In actual fact, we shall be the closing act of the 2015 Bristol Slapstick Festival and, on this incredible evening of Stanshallian celebration we shall be joined by none other than Stephen Fry!! Yep! That’s right! Stephen Fry! ‘Shut the front door!’ as the youth of today might say!

273912039stephen_fry3

With that in mind, and seeing as the show has recently gained quite a lot of new fans, it’s probably a good time to answer that age old question David Byrne once almost sang – ‘Well…How did we get here?’ It all began in 2006 when my good friend and percussionist Jonny Hase played me a CD that would prove to shape much of my life in the coming few years. The CD was ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’ by the late, great  Vivian Stanshall, ex-Bonzos lead singer, and owner of one of the finest creative minds that this country has ever produced. For the next hour I was captivated by its majesty, brilliance and humour and knew that I was hearing something very special.

Sir H LP
The original meisterwerk by the great Vivian Stanshall

However it wasn’t until 3 years later, during yet another one of my periodic attempts to get fit, that I was really ‘hooked’ by Sir Henry. As I was cycling along the Liverpool waterfront I became aware that I was listening to one LP much more than any other. Sir Henry at Rawlinson End. Such was my admiration for the piece that I developed a very strong desire to see it performed live. To me it seemed like it would make the ultimate edition of Jackanory, (one of my faves being a bookworm kid), but I could not find anything on the internet to suggest that anybody was doing it anywhere in the world. If that wasn’t troubling enough, most of the people that I mentioned Vivian Stanshall to had no idea who he was, and my comments were often met with a reply of ‘Vivian Who?’ One of the greatest artists of the 20th Century? And he was being forgotten? This would not do! At about that time, as I lay in bed one night, after a very lively and enthusiastic session on some lovely Belgian white beer, a sudden realisation hit me like a bucket of iced cold water in the face. If nobody was performing this piece, and I was the one so desperate to see it done, then I would have to be the one to do it. After all, I reasoned, ‘I’m an actor and a singer. So why not?’ It appeared that my desire to consign the phrase ‘Vivian Who?’ to the memory hole was beginning to take hold. It was a travesty that people were forgetting Vivian, so now was my chance to do something about it.

Sir Henry premiere, Liverpool Unity theatre, June 22nd 2010
Sir Henry premiere, Liverpool Unity theatre, June 22nd 2010

To cut an incredibly long story incredibly short, a few months later the foundations were laid and I had found a director, Paul Carmichael, and a musical director, Bill Leach, who put together an incredibly talented team of musicians to make my dream become a reality. Rehearsals began and we were off. I scraped together all my cash to book the Unity Theatre in Liverpool for June 22nd 2010, and then there really was NO turning back. As I sat with the receipt in my hand I thought ‘what the hell have I done?’ The run up to that show, memorising every word of that incredible piece, the nerves at making a balls of it, getting the music right, it was all terrifying, but we did it! The first performances sold out and the reviews were so good that the very next morning the theatre manager rang me to offer us 3 more nights to perform the piece there later in the year. Validation, and no hiring this time, in fact the only time I have had to hire a theatre since was in London, the 40 seat Lion and Unicorn in Kentish Town, on October 14th 2011. This was the easiest decision I have ever made. By 2011 we had done Sir Henry all over the place, but never in London. Vivian was a London boy and many people were travelling from London to see the piece. The demand was there, so that is where it needed to be. Again it was an incredibly terrifying time leading up to that show. Via Twitter I knew that the great Neil Innes, (Vivian’s oppo in the Bonzos), was going to be there, and also another great hero of mine Ade Edmondson. No pressure then. During the show I had a massive panic attack due to my fear, which, like the director Paul, you can enjoy for yourself here

The Gang
With Ade Edmondson and Neil Innes after the London Premiere

However, panic attack aside, the show went very well thankfully, and our illustrious guests, plus the audience in general, loved it. Thanks to their approval, and a glowing review by Andrew Male in MOJO magazine, that night proved to be the turning point for the show. Since then more amazing shows have followed, each getting bigger and better than the last, and it is truly rewarding to watch your own dreams and intentions flourish. For the last 2 years Vivian’s son Rupert and I have also put on an evening of celebration of Vivian’s life at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London. These shows have featured many of Vivian’s friends and admirers getting up onstage with us, with the centrepiece always being our show ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’. As Neil Innes himself said of our show, it is ‘..a tour de force and a work of art, that is the jewel in the crown of the evening’ – and it is that self-same evening that we are bringing to The Old Vic Theatre in Bristol on January 25th at the kind invitation of the Slapstick Festival. It is wonderful that we shall be a part of this event next year, especially as the intention of the organiser, (Chris Daniels), like our own, is to keep the legacy of the great Vivian Stanshall and his work alive.

l-r Ade at London Premiere, Neil and I at Liverpool Epstein and the grand finale of Viv's 70th at the Bloomsbury
l-r Ade at the London Premiere, Neil and I performing at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre and the grand finale of Viv’s 70th at the Bloomsbury

I hope you enjoyed that very condensed history of the show, as you can see it’s been a long road to the Old Vic next January, but all worth it as we look forward to sharing the same stage as Stephen Fry and also Neil Innes, Rod Slater and Susie Honeyman too! Wow! To think that an idea that formed in my head actually became a show is mad enough. The fact that it has elicited such great reviews is mind blowing. But for it to feature one of the greatest cultural icons of our times for one very special night only at the Bristol Old Vic is, well, quite staggering really, and can only help remind people of the genius of the piece’s author. So there you go, a very condensed version of the history of this show. I do hope that you can all join us at 8pm on January 25th at the Bristol Old Vic. For it will surely be a splendid evening’s entertainment for everyone! Now, think on’t dot, dot, dot, dot, dot

Oh, and whilst you’re here, why not follow us on Twitter and Facebook? To see more of our show and our various adventures then please visit our YouTube channel