The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Friday, February 17, 2006

One of their huge tuneful hits is called “Midnight In Moscow” – but even the most devoted fans of the kings of Trad, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, would find that easier to imagine than their shocking victory in this year’s Brit Awards, where the loveable, cleancut lads have scooped the award for Best British Act ahead of highly-rated fellow nominees Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Shadows, The George Mitchell Minstrels, and, most surprisingly of all, the self-styled “Fab Four” themselves – the Beatles!

In a stormy, fun ceremony held live at the Empire Pool, Wembley, north-west of London, even compere David “Juke Box Jury” Jacobs seemed to be stunned by some of the night’s results. “My goodness, were we to gainsay that all the fashionable youngsters of enterprise would express their preferment for that which many still call The Merseybeat Sound,” he asked a star-sudded audience estimated at 15,000 in number, “yet would be bested by Our Kind Of Music?” Even trumpeter Ball, leader of Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, looked startled as he tenderly accepted his award from comedy legend Tommy Trinder. The Beatles could only look on helplessly, on a film specially shot in San Francisco three weeks previously.

And that wasn’t the only surprise in this year’s never-failing-to-surprise Brits, as legendary fun pianist and entertainer Mrs Mills won the Best British Female Artist trophy, ahead of much fancied rivals Julie Rogers, Alma Cogan, Vera Lynn and Annie Lennox. “This just goes to show,” quipped Mills at a press conference after the fun-packed ceremony, “that proper music with proper tunes never goes out of fashion, no matter what all those long-haired layabouts say! Now, who’s for a tiddly at the milk bar?” she quipped to gales of laughter from the press reporters present.

You’d need to wear a thick scarf to protect yourself from the gales of laughter that arise whenever cuddly, cheeky all-round entertainer Kenny Lynch is in town, and the star was in particularly fulsome fun form as he scooped the Best R&B Act award, having gleaned more votes from the all-star music business panel (“This’ll show everyone us oldies are – as they say – with it!” chuckled the Brits panel chairman Billy Cotton) than fellow contenders Adam Faith, Emile Ford and the Checkmates, Swinging Blue Jeans, The, and hot purveyors of what the kids in the street are calling “Souls” music – none other than Liverpool’s finest, Wayne Fontana with his Mindbenders. “Funny you should say that,” quipped star Lynch, “but I was playing a round of golf with Adam [Faith – Ed.] at Weybridge the other day, and we got to the eighteenth hole and Tarby and I said to Adam: ‘Hey Adam, you’ll never pot that eighteenth hole in one!’ And do you know what – he didn’t!” Lynch quipped, doubtless warmed by the warm reception he got from up and coming comic legend Jimmy “Tarby” Tarbuck, who happily was on hand to present “Lynchie” Lynch with his richly-deserved award at the ceremony yesterday.

But even “Tarby” Tarbuck couldn’t hold a candle to the King of Knotty Ash, the tattifilarious, madcap Ken Dodd who walked home from Wembley, near London, with the Best British Male Artist award, despite strong competition from male artists of the calibre of Frank Ifield, Michael Cox, David Whitfield and the late Michael Holliday. “Only I wouldn’t have walked home missus,” quipped comedy star Ken “Doddy” Dodd, “because I live in Knotty Ash!” The loveable wild man best known as “Doddy” won for his happy hits like “Happiness,” but Mr Tickling Stick himself certainly looked more than happy after the ceremony, having been snapped in the company of TV’s glamorous “Vernons Girls”! Quipped Cliff Richard, who specially attended the ceremony although won nothing, “Obviously I’m disappointed not to be amongst the winners, but let’s face it, Ken Dodd’s worked hard and long to get where he is and frankly I’m a little bit sick and tired of the long-haired layabouts you see hanging around the streets these days who expect pots of gold for hanging around the streets and doing nothing at all, these days. It wasn’t like that when Tommy Steele and I were singing for fungal crusts at the Two I’s in the early days of rock and roll!”

The star-studded ceremony got off to a “swinging” start thanks to a touching and poignant tribute from one generation of entertainers to another as Dame Anna Neagle and Gerry Marsden of Gerry and The Pacemakers performed a “Mod” rendition of the old Fred Astaire and Judy Garland classic, “We’re A Couple Of Swells.” Soon the audience were rollicking in hysterics of hysterical laughter from the forays of comic purveyed by the legions of legendary entertainers who came on stage to present the much-coveted “Brit” Awards, including amongst their number up and coming comic comet Bruce “I’m In Charge” Forsyth, Kenneth “Round The Horne” Horne, “Carry On” stars Sid James and Raymond Huntley, screen legend Ted Ray, and the reunited “Band Waggon” comedy duo of Arthur “Big Hearted Arthur Askey” Askey and Richard “Stinker” Murdoch, who seemed especially thrilled to be presenting the award for Best International Act – though this was controversially won posthumously, by the late, great “Country and Western” entertainer Jim “Gentleman Jim” Reeves, in recognition of his stunning hit parade successes, which sadly he never lived to enjoy, the award was accepted on the late great’s behalf by a visibly tearful Dorothy Squires, 53. Other international stars in contention for this contested award were loveable, cleancut Irish trio The Bachelors, cleancut, loveable Irish entertainer Val Doonican, star Bert Kaempfert and the Beach Boys. Indeed, the self-styled “Kings of Surf” the Beach Boys flew in specially for the ceremony and raised a slight how-to-do when they protested about “having come all this flipping way for a phoney flipping ceremony for old people,” as their leader, Mike Love, was heard to quip on his way to the “Exit.”

But the most emotional emotions were saved for the emotional final Cyril Lord Carpets Lifetime Achievement Award, which a visibly tearful Norman “Don’t Laugh At Me” Wisdom presented tenderly to that legendary duo of a double act, Flanagan and Allen. Bud and Woody thanked the audience, estimated at 20,000 strong, for supporting them throughout their 60 years in the business before launching into a medley of their showstopping hit. Onlookers in the all-important “VIP” front row, including Stanley Holloway, Brian Poole and Max Bygraves, were visibly tearful to see those loveable rogues of old strut their stuff once more, in defiance of an age which has washed away all nobility, decency and respect in favour of long-haired layabouts. You’ll find none of these at the Brit Awards – where “Real Music” is rewarded!

When quizzed about comments from disgruntled “Left-wingers” – probably “Communists” – about the Brits being an antiquated, ridiculous ceremony which studiously ignored everything that was interesting about that year’s music in favour of constantly playing safe and rewarding mediocre time-servers for the act of still breathing, BBC chief Lord “Reithy” Reith quipped: “Well, what one has to remember is that the BBC paid a substantial sum of money for this ceremony to be broadcast live on our colourful new “Colour” channel BBC2 – and one has to remember that the potential audience for that includes young children and also old ‘pensioners,’ many of whom fought in two world wars so that long-haired layabouts could have the freedom to hang around the streets these days – those so-called “Moderns” and “Rockists” we see getting caught up in dreadful scrapes at the seaside of an Easter, you wouldn’t have that, I can tell you, if we hadn’t abolished National Service – and the BBC has a remit to please all of its audience, not to offend all of its audience. So it would have been inappropriate for us to give out awards to the scruffy likes of the Roaring Stones, the Kings, the Whose and Cilla Black, for the BBC certainly doesn’t play any of that long-haired layabout tommy rot, no matter how many long-haired layabouts hang around the streets playing this so-called ‘music’ on their Dansettes these days. Also one has to remember that this ‘music’ is most commonly made popular on illegal pirate radio stations, and the BBC and the Brits committee certainly cannot be seen openly to endorse ‘music’ which becomes popular by virtue of criminal gain. Think of all the brave lads in the Army and Navy out there on the high seas, fighting for our freedom – Jerry would blow them away in a trice were their important communication wavelengths disrupted by scruffy long-haired layabout so-called ‘pirate’ ‘music’! As I said to Rab Butler over our fourteenth Scotch at the Carlton Club the other e’en – one has to take a stand. This ‘music’ will not last and will be eventually and thankfully superseded by genuine music. One never knows – some distant day in the future, one of our own brave squadron leaders fighting in foreign lands for our freedom may win a ‘Brit’!”

Quipped a spokesman for the Brit Awards, “Forget it, Jarvis. It’s Chinatown.”

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