Tuesday, 12 January 2010

See, Rather Than Hear - Funny

Larry Grayson was a camp comedian. He came out of the risqué tradition of ‘Music Hall’, but I encountered him on prime time TV (and once, in real-life) in the 1970’s, where he was a kind of pre-curser to Julian Clary and Graham Norton. His catch-phase, “Ooo shut that door”, made a lasting impression - I can see him saying it now (see, rather than hear – funny!). When he wasn’t demanding doors be shut, Grayson would often make reference to a close friend, a special friend he appeared to live with, named Everard.
We never got to meet Everard and his role in Grayson’s life was somewhat ambiguous - Everard was a bit like Dame Edina’s fashion-designer son, Kenny - his outrageous (sexually implied) exploits were recounted with much innuendo.
I met Larry Grayson once at a band concert. He presented our brass band with a solid-brass horse and cart – some kind of award – I don’t know what we’d done to deserve it?
The concert happened to be our school (or Community College, as it was then known) and after the presentation ceremony Grayson mingled, chatting with the band members. I found myself propped up against the door to the gents clutching my horn, when Grayson appeared in front of me and spoke. It would have been a-dream-come-true if I could have told you, he said, “Ooo open that door”. Or better still - say I’d had the foresight to prop the door to the gents open with the hideous horse and cart - “Shut that door”. But Grayson said neither of these things: he looked me up and down, before fixing his gaze on my glimmering horn, and said, “Give us a blow”.
Strangest (sexiest?) thing about Grayson though was his address – the name of his road. He was born and lived all his life in a God-forsaken place called Nuneaton; Grayson and his invisible friend, Everard, lived together in a big white mansion on a road called ‘The Longshoot’!

The Longshoot Hotel was formally the Crossroads Motel. The Longshoot Hotel (it’s still there) acted as the external double for the 1970’s soap opera, Crossroads - the Midland’s answer to Coronation Street; and, Noel Gordon aside, the hotel was the most convincing actor in it! I can still hum the theme-tune to this Mother of all soaps.

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