Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monty Python's First Live Performance - Belgrade Theatre Coventry 1971


The latest article by Pete Clemons for the Coventry Telegraph with some background notes by Trev Teasdel.

Back in 2007, I posted an article on the original Hobo - Coventry Music and Arts Magazine archive site on Vox, regarding the Lanch (Lanchester Poly tech now Coventry University) Arts Festivals. On the programme of the 1971 festival, in small print, was the name Colin Richardson - the London Bron Agency with who Ted Little (then Social Secretary of the Lanch student union) book his bands through. Colin came across my post and got in touch, offering more information for the site.
Colin Richardson with Paul McCartney

Colin proved to be a fascinating man and raconteur of hos own musical history. I promtly interviewed his for the Hobo site, starting from his jazz group background and venue management which included the Marquee club in London c 1965. Colin went on to manage Jon Hiseman's Colosseum and the New Jazz Orchestra and work for various music agencies like Bron, booking some of the top bands of the time into venues like Coventry's Lanchester Poly. Later he worked for Charisma records and then became a music journalist, interviewing the likes of Nilsson, Genesis and Paul McCartney.

The full Colin Richardson interview - in parts - can be viewed here -
1. http://covdiscoarchive.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/colin-richardson-interview-part-1.html
2. http://covdiscoarchive.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/colin-richardson-interview-part-2.html
3. http://covdiscoarchive.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/colin-richardson-interview-part-3.html
4. http://covdiscoarchive.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/colin-richardson-interview-part-4-bron.html
5. http://covdiscoarchive.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/colin-richardson-interview-part-5.html
6. http://covdiscoarchive.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/colin-richardson-interview-part-5.html
7. http://covdiscoarchive.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/colin-richardson-interview-part-7.html

Part 6 relates to the Monty Python scoop.
Colin Richardson's own site is http://colinrichardsonjazz.typepad.com/blog/

Colin was subsequently interviewed by BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire on the Python story - you can listen to the broadcast on part 6 of the above interview. On the recent announcement of Python's proposed return to the stage, BBC Coventry called him back for another brief interview end of 2013.

Pete Clemons also followed on with a great article on the story of Colin's historic Python scoop for the Coventry Telegraph which hit the press last Monday and is re-presented here for posterity and those who didn't see it. However, there is an oversite in that Pete inadvertently merged a eye witness account of the Python performance with an anacdote by myself. Although i went to most of the Lanch events and witness the Gumbies leaving the Lanch poly with knotted hankerchiefs on their heads, marching down priory street to the Belgrade Theatre, it was a Nuneaton Observer journalist (an old school pal) Chris Applebey who actually saw the performance and interviewed John Cleese. Pete forgot to attribute that bit to Chris, so we mention it here.

This is Chris Applebey's story -
"One of the most memorable weeks of my life! I was a reporter for the Nuneaton Observer and had press tickets for all events. The stand out moments for me were Elton John's performance in the Lanch Hall - he'd just switched from the Burn Down the Mission style stuff to the screaming up and down on top of his piano bit - and then his dressing room afterwards where he was very kind to my, then 17 year old, sister Sue. He was a sweetie to her. The same week I saw Monty Python's first live show at the Belgrade. I was in a press box, right next to the stage and Cleese stood in front of me, glaring and shouting "Albatross! Albatross! Gannet on a stick! Tern ripple." I was crying with laughter as he just stood po-faced in usherette uniform as I clung to the balcony legless with laughter. I interviewed him afterwards, I am tiny and he's huge and I was very star-struck and young. All I can remember was him saying how great it was to see so many people had come such a long way to see them, from somewhere up north, all dressed as "Gumby". It was an incredible coup for the Lanch to get so many big names that year, who were just hitting the big wave of their careers. I guess free tickets made it a very good deal."

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