Fun with Your Dad


These are the digital remains of Your Dad, described by Phil Rickman on the BBC Wales Arts Blog as ‘almost legendary.’

Here are all the useful clips gathered in one web page. There aren’t many. There should be more. For example, the ‘Your Dad in Vegas’ film is not available online. I have a copy, but I don’t know how to deal with it in uploadedable chunks. We were always bodging the technical stuff; sometimes it was funny, but usually not.

I miss Christopher Charles ‘Chas’  Ambler bitterly. I loved him, and I loved playing with him and learning about music from him. In 20 years, we had nothing but fun.

This is what I said at old Chas Ambler’s funeral, high in the Tatham moors.

This is an appreciation from the Stan’s Cafe Theatre Company, with a YouTube link to Chas’s song ‘Bees’

We in Your Dad started with the policy that we would only play songs we liked, and we stayed true to that for our first five years. And then we decided to play a song we hated, and, what’s more, play nothing else except that song, and play it over and over and over again, till the audience sickened and died. So here are Your Dad performing part of the legendary ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ show.

This is from the Sunshine Seekers stage at Glastonbury in…. dunno. It’s not not brilliantly filmed, but I think worth watching clip of us making the whole audience join the band

If you’ve ever joined Your Dad, namaste.

This is filmed on someones phone late at night at a wild hippy do out on the Somerset Levels, but the sound is pretty good, and it does give a flavour of the alternative extended Sugar Sugar ending. The late great Charlie Wrighton, for many years patron of Goose Hall, the Glastonbury Festival Workers Cafe, can be seen lurching about in a pink suit in the background.

This is Your Dad making the other rappers look like babies.

This is us at the Frost Fair in Glastonbury, December 2012, with our wonderful version of ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor.’

That’s about it, sadly.

Here’s some journalism I did about the Your Dad Experience.

Here’s a bit from The Observer, outlining some of the perils of singing in public houses.

And here’s one from The Telegraph, about the excitements of being at the bottom of the bill at Glastonbury. They call me Ian Mercher, which is a new one. It’s behind a paywall, so get your racist Nan to print it off for you.

This is me ranting on the Rude Health soapbox at Abergavenny Food Festival 2012.

This is a compilation of me compering stuff from Sheep Music in Presteigne 2002.

Fun For Some

In 2007, I got a call from Holly Blackwell, who I had known a few years earlier, when she was in a band called Angelica.

I saw what must have been one of their very first gigs, at Lancaster Girls Grammar School, in 1995 or 96. It was a school performance night, with the odd poetry reading, a bit of dancing, a string quartet, and so on. I was there because my daughter was in year 10; was she doing something? I can no longer say. It was the sort of good-hearted event that Mums and Dads and Nannas go to everynight, all over the world. Sigh.

But, just once in a lifetime, Angelica top the bill. Three of the girls were in Year 11, but the bass player Bridget was in Year 10, and was my daughter’s best pal. Through her I fixed up a meeting with them in Penny’s of Penny Street, at that time my favourite Lancaster caff. I told them they had ‘it’, Holly Ross was a natural born rock and roll star, that they were a fearsome band, and that record companies would come knocking, and that they need a manger, who should be someone prepared to put a bit of money into them. They found such a person, made an album, did John Peel sessions, played a Leeds and Reading, then split up. and got married, Holly to David Blackwell, a chum of mine who produced the Prime Movers stuff and had played on the Mood Index album. Holly went to university. I heard she’d got a job as a trainee TV producer or somesuch. She was back again living in Lancaster, so I heard news of her from my daughter, who was still in the City by the Bay at that point.

I got the call from her in 2007. She had been given her first solo project to produce a TV show for ITV Border, a half-hour long ‘opt-out’ show of the kind the regional ITV companies used to run on a Sunday afternoon, up against ‘Songs of Praise.’ Did I know anything about the engineer Thomas Telford? Fucking did I? And would I like to present it? Fucking would I?’Telford’, it was called. We had a great deal of fun doing it (neither Holly nor I have a copy), and it was nominated for a Royal Television Society award.

So ITV Border let us do a four part series, which Holly had pitched, called ‘Fun For Some’. It was what you might call a portmanteau show. We went to as many places covered by ITV border as we could – Cumbria, Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, and the Isle of Man. It was filmed in 2008, around the time of the financial crisis, so I saw queues outside Northern Rock in Carlisle, the city where I was based for three or four weeks, and which I came to appreciate.

What it amounts to is me titting about, going off script, meeting lots of lovely people, and being either shite at, or terrified by, the tasks I was set, except sharp-shooting, until my trousers fell down.

Here is Fun For Some, Episode One.

This is Fun For Some, Episode Two.

As you might imagine, this is Fun For Some, Episode Three.

And if you haven’t had too much of a good thing, this is Fun For Some, Episode Four

If you’re feeling really dedicated, here is the Sheep Music film, ‘Apocalypse Weekend’, widely regarded in Radnorshire as the low point of an already not-hugely-stellar career. They are wrong, damn their eyes! Wrong, I tell you.

I wrote it, and I’m in it, and everyone hates it except me and Cosmic Smiles. I still think that it meets and exceeds the remit; lots of people get parts, it takes place around and through the festival, in order to show what the festival is about without spoiling it for the people who were there, but rather enhacing their experience, so that the filming was part of the festival – there are vox pops, drug induced euphoria, proper festival music, Dirty Ray and Cosmic Smiles for the ladies; and some great gags, though I say so myself. Over the years, I’ve come to see it as the ultimate Presteign Players Panto, with many PPP stars appearing. Mark Williams as Anger is a delight, for example.

It features Bob Rowberry in the character of Courage, one of the Four Cardinal Values. 5 points if you spot Chas.

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