Whilst strutting back to work from my lunchbreak one day much in the manner of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (only without the tin of paint) I came across an unexpected and rather fragrant piece of street theatre.
Though I’d like to think these boys were fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe I know for a fact they’ve not missed a single day of retching through the park gates for at least the last 3 months so I know they haven’t been as far north as Boots The Chemist let alone Scotland.
But there they were. 5 of them. A street drunk quintet all sitting on the steps of the KL Oriental Supermarket looking like a living, moving fly tip.
They’re a strange combo in terms of audience demographics but I can see they’re trying to cover all their potential bases. Their ages seem to range from mid 50’s down to early twenties. There was even a guy with a porkpie hat and a moustache who looked as if he’d been exhumed from the communal grave of 1960’s skiffle.
Now it’s not unusual to see one or other of these guys singing. Usually a bad Tom Jones (geddit?) or a raspy Shirley Bassey – occasionally a bit of Happy Mondays – but to see all of them performing as a single ensemble was quite frankly so jaw-droppingly amazing that I literally nearly dropped my... well... my jaw.
They were singing together. They were organized. They’d obviously rehearsed. Even worse / better one of them – the baby of the group (a 6 footer of around 25 but undoubtedly with the liver of a 65 year old French man) was attempting to provide percussion solely with his mouth. A human beat-box. Or in his case, a human beat-up-box.
Unfortunately he hadn’t quite mastered the art so all his spitting and raspberry blowing sounded less like a kick-drum and a snare and more like an elephant farting into a biscuit tin. With the addition that everyone in a 2ft radius of him was getting wet.
Best of all these guys weren’t singing into “air mics”. Oh no. Nothing so crass and amateurish. They were singing into their cans of Special Brew. Possibly this deepened the rich timbre that their vocal chords were producing and added a touch of reverb.
Anyway, I confess I had a Dick Rowe moment and briefly considered taking these boys on and seeing if I could steer them to fame and fortune. Or if not that then at least The X Factor (I’d love to see Simon Cowell getting rhythmically spat on) but what with my other commitments – Take That, Amy Winehouse and Jane McDonald – and a young family to raise I just don’t have the time or the energy to take on a boy band with so much genuine street cred and so many permanent health issues.
So I’m throwing it open to the blogging community. This could be your opportunity to get onto the ground level of the next big thing. A contact in Alcoholics Anonymous would be a plus as would a natural immunity to the combined odours of vomit and beer breath. A sponsorship deal with Heineken is already in the pipeline and A&E are expecting you.