Half Moon presents:

An Audience without Jake or Les - performed by John Watterson

John Watterson

Half Moon - Putney, London

£13 adv / £15 door
Entry Requirements: 18+ after 7pm
General Admission (e-ticket)
$18.30 + $1.83 s/c

An Audience without Jake Thackray or Les Barker

A NEW SHOW CELEBRATING THE WORK OF TWO OF OUR FINEST AND FUNNIEST WORDSMITHS

John Watterson is delighted to announce his new show for 2024 – ‘An Audience without Jake or Les’, celebrating the life, songs and wonderful wordsmithery of the great Yorkshire chansonnier, and the hilarious poetry of ‘the finest Poet Laureate we never had. The set includes many Jake classics (Sister Josephine, On Again On Again, The Bantam Cock etc), anecdotes from the recent biography plus some recently discovered ‘lost’ Thackray masterpieces. Les Barker’s wonderful poetry is celebrated through such gems as Reg was a Lonely Glow Worm, Dachsunds with Erections, Spot of the Antarctic and Déjà vu.

John Watterson is the UK’s leading performer of Jake’s songs. As Fake Thackray he has toured with Fairport Convention and Jasper Carrott and has performed at festivals, theatres and clubs across the UK and on local and national radio, as well as appearing with Jon Richardson on 'Meet the Richardsons'. He was a friend of the late Les Barker and continues to sell Les’ merchandise to raise money for Amnesty International, Les’ nominated charity.

Line Up

Without Jake.

Leeds-born Jake Thackray (1938-2002) is increasingly recognised as being one of the greatest English songwriters of the twentieth century, a unique talent, whose songs are full of poetry, wit, irreverence and humanity. He became known to millions through his regular appearances in the 1960s and 1970s on programmes such as Braden’s Week and That’s Life. Since his death in obscurity there has been growing recognition of his genius and a resurgence of interest in his work. His admirers include Jarvis Cocker, Alex Turner, Don Black, Thea Gilmore, Cerys Matthews, Benjamin Clementine and Neil Gaiman.

John Watterson is the UK’s leading performer of Jake’s songs. As Fake Thackray he has toured with Fairport Convention and performed at Latitude, Cropredy and the Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. He has also played for Jake’s family. John has appeared many times on radio, including Radio 4’s Great Lives, a Radio 2 documentary on Jake presented by Cerys Matthews and Radio 3’s The Verb hosted by Ian McMillan. Most recently he appeared on TVs Meet the Richardsons with Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont.

The show will include many Jake classics (Sister Josephine, On Again On Again, The Bantam Cock and others), anecdotes from John’s research into Jake’s life for the recently published biography as well as some of the ‘lost’ Thackray songs John has rediscovered and recorded on his CD, The Lost Will and Testament of Jake Thackray.

Without Les

Before turning his hand to poetry, Mancunian Les Barker was a chartered accountant, working at the city’s town hall until 1982. But he found it boring. He discovered that his real talent was in writing silly poems, which he would perform at local folk clubs. He soon became a regular at folk clubs and festivals. By his side was Mrs Ackroyd, his dog and loyal companion. He toured America and Australia, and his genius and silliness were treasured everywhere.

His poems set to music were recorded by the US folk singer Tom Paxton, the English folk singer June Tabor, the English folk group Waterson:Carthy, and many others.

The Financial Times praised his work as “a blend of Edward Lear nonsense, Stanley Unwin wordplay, the surreal inconsequentiality of Reeves and Mortimer and the demonic robustness of Stanley Holloway monologues”. Les Barker’s wonderful poetry is celebrated through such gems as Reg was a Lonely Glow Worm, Dachsunds with Erections, Spot of the Antarctic and Déjà vu.

Les had a serious side, too. He was politically aware and had an acute social conscience. His poems The Civilised War, with its opening line of “How goes the war on terror, George?”, and The Church of the Holy Undecided got him into trouble in America, leading to cancelled concerts and a refusal to grant him a work permit for his next tour.

Website – www.fakethackray.com

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/FakeThackray

YouTube clip - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmu2mFtrysA

Testimonials

Sir Richard Stilgoe

“Jake would have loved the skill of the performance, the accuracy of the impression, and the affection it contains. Long may John continue to keep Jake’s memory alive so affectionately and skilfully, and introduce more people to one of the most remarkable talents I ever met.”

Mike Harding

‘Brilliant! We can’t have Jake back but this is the next best thing.’

Ralph McTell

‘John Watterson’s obvious joy in performing Jake’s wonderful songs has inspired him to record these Thackray gems, many of which are receiving their first ever release. My dear friend Jake was a modest and shy man, but I think he would be quietly grinning in approval. John’s collaborator, Paul Thompson, has immersed himself so deeply in Jake’s musicality that the new tunes he has written for some of the songs sound as if they were composed by the man himself. Jake lives again through this album, which is a wonderful contribution to the canon of a unique and sadly missed artist.’

Victor Lewis-Smith (Producer, 'Jake on the Box' BBC 4)

‘Wonderful stuff, bringing some of Jake's long-forgotten gems back to life. Brilliantly performed songs, with uncannily precise enunciation, and accurately capturing the unique Thackray guitar style. If Jake was right, and there really is an afterlife, he'll undoubtedly be looking down and giving his gruff approval.’

Don Black (Songwriter and BBC Radio 2 presenter)

‘Terrific interpretations.

Mike Harding

‘Les was undoubtedly the best Poet Laureate we never had.’

By signing up you agree to receive news and offers from The Half Moon Putney. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more details see the privacy policy.