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 SuzyNorman

The Idiot Bastard Band @ The Wilmington Arms, London 14.03.11

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I’ve become one of those thirtysomethings who heckle the stage, or least I find myself doing so tonight.

In my favourite Clerkenwell pub, I buy a round of pints as my gang shuffle down near the stage and while fumbling for cash in my purse, I stop. As they tie up loose ends backstage, The Id Bas are pacifying the crowd with ‘Cymande’. A promising sign.

After swigging their pints, Ade Edmondson and friends are late taking to the stage. Playing mainly Innes, Syd Barrett and Raw Sex numbers, this is our second visit to see them this year and recently, with Phill Jupitus away, they’ve been getting guests in to help. This week, as he ambles onto the stage – managing to brush his hands on my rear on the way, it was the turn of an elderly Barry Cryer. He, who had a Number One hit in Finland in 1957, with ‘Purple People Eater’, sits at the back out of the way – bemused. But the banter between them all’s a treat.

Next time and in just over a week, the invitee will be Paul Whitehouse. And after that, in April, Nigel Planer. Well, at £7.50 a ticket – and that’s punk rock prices, I’m there already.

The Bonzos have been enjoying a resurgence of radio play lately. Already basking in a web fan base, Neil Innes’ songs are immediately identifiable. Us, the comparatively young web geeks by the bar, the Bonzos fans, can distinguish the authorship of Viv Stanshall’s ‘Terry Keeps His Clips On’ from the Innes-penned ‘Democracy’ in a mash of whimsy.

Stage right – just out of shot and craning our necks to see them – are Raw Sex. Simon Brint just has to utter a few, dry, well-enunciated words and we’re falling about. Last time, Ade Edmondson’s wife shouted from the audience: “I WANT RAW SEX”, and tonight, the daft wordplay of their ‘Esperanto’ was a joy.

Revving up the next track now, Edmondson cries to Rivron:

AE- “Let there be drums.”

RR – “Fuck off.”

Always obtuse, Rivron is an English hero.

They play most weeks (sorry – “rehearse live”) and it’s a cracking, but under-subscribed night at The Wilmington Arms. Our gang – my husband and assorted pals, associates and web villains – stand strategically close to the bar and in full view of Jennifer Saunders chatting to regulars and waiting around for them to wrap up.

They do, and we’re home to bed by midnight. And I’ve got a feeling my throat’s gonna hurt in the morning. It’s been an interactive school night with too much shouting. Who do we become in that small room?

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