Guide To World Domination
Written and Performed by Neil Innes
Thursday 17th February 2011
Seeing Neil Innes’ musical and lyrical genius live at the Unity
was an absolute delight. So much so that it was less like watching a performance
and more like having a jam session with close friends. Innes kicked off
the evening proclaiming that he was ‘ready to rock’ and, wearing
his spangled jacket, you could believe this would be the case. Fortunately,
the jacket was discarded within minutes but it remained in view serving
as an echo of the showbiz cliché (darhlings!).
Innes admitted he’d been through the 60s once before and he was
now going through them again; there was a definite element of nostalgia
as he regaled tales of his times with The Bonzo Dog Band and The Rutles
and, of course, Monty Python. The music was a mixture of songs which he’d
either written or collaborated on with the aforementioned bands and also
his more recent creations. He did indeed ‘guide’ us through
the evening as he defined, with such literary flair as to be expected,
exactly what each word of his performance title meant. A song about politics
in this instance could not be avoided; aside from his little ditty ‘Where
has all the money gone?’ a question we’ve all been asking,
his song ‘Democracy’ inspires us to look out for one another:
those who can’t help themselves, our children, and in particular
those who aren’t good at anything, after all, we elected them to
be our leaders!
The majority of the audience were certainly die-hard Python/Bonzo/Rutle
fans but those unfamiliar were not to be excluded. We were, in fact, all
initiated into becoming ‘Ego Warriors’ and to celebrate individuality.
I’ve never been one to engage in audience participation - the idea
of convincing a gaudily dressed man in drag that the perpetrator is indeed
behind them just doesn’t appeal. That said it is hard not to get
caught up in the moment and take part in band-shouts to the likes of ‘Run
Away’, a song that didn’t make it into the final cut of Python’s
Holy Grail (1975) and how often are
you actually encouraged to indulge in
immature behaviour so, when asked, of course I blew a huge raspberry.
Innes declared he’d ‘never done a slick show in my life and
I don’t intend to start now’ and, certainly, the evening had
none of the vacuous glamour that has been inflicted upon us by the likes
of Simon Cowell. Instead, his mixture of pastiche and seriousness, from
‘Hehaw Hehaw’ sung by Jean-Paul Satire to the lamentable ‘Imitation
Song’, provided a celebration of immaturity and the downright absurd.
He is indeed the bad influence encouraging us to rebel in our own little
way against the medium of mediocrity.