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My Arts: Dave Spikey

The comedian and writer is not lost for words in sharing his cultural faves

Published on February 13th 2012.

My Arts: Dave Spikey

Inspired by the audience reaction to his deconstruction of song lyrics in his “Best Medicine Tour”, combined with his fascination with the vagaries of the English language, Dave Spikey's new show, "Words Don't Come Easy", examines many more situations in life where words really don’t come easy. 

These include tongue-tied parents explaining the facts of life, ridiculous newspaper stories, poems, pathetic adolescent chat-up lines, hospital speak, learning a foreign language and an extended selection of song lyrics that range from the lazy through surreal to the ridiculous. 

After winning the 'North West Comedian of the Year' Award, Spikey (born David Gordon Bramwell) became a regular on the club circuit.

Dave Spikey In Phoenix NightsAs Jerry St Clair In Phoenix NightsEarly in his career he followed in the footsteps of Jeremy Beadle and Ted Robbins presenting ITV's game show Chain Letters - whilst continuing to hold down his day job as Chief Biomedical Scientist in Haematology at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

In 1996, TV comedy history was made when Dave met fellow Boltonian Peter Kay. Sharing a similar style and approach to comedy and writing, they went on to form a formidable partnership; collaborating on Mad for the A6; a Granada special, and then on The Services for C4's Comedy Lab. Shortly after they co-wrote That Peter Kay Thing, which was awarded 'Best New TV Comedy' at the British Comedy Awards in 2000.

But Spikey, 61, only gave up the day job up to star and co-write Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights. He currently lives up the road in Chorley.

What are your top three albums of all time?
Motown Chartbusters Vol 3 – Various Artists;
Meet the Beatles – Beatles;
What's Going On – Marvin Gaye.

What were the first and the last records that you bought?
Living Doll – Cliff Richard;
Art – Benny Sings.

What tune is running around your head at the moment?
Human - Killers.

What was the last gig you went to?
Gogol Bordello.

Did you pay to get in? If not, why not?
Oh yes. 

Gogol-Bordello-HelsinkiLast gig: Gogol BordelloDo you listen to lyrics or merely absorb melody?
I’m obsessed with song lyrics especially the nonsensical , ridiculous and lazy. I devote 15 minutes of my show to playing song lyrics and deconstructing them.

What newspapers/magazines do you read?
Daily Mirror, NOT for the news coverage but for the columnists: Tony Parsons , Paul Routledge , Brian Reade, Kevin Maguire , Fiona McIntosh and Mark Austin and the great sports coverage and comment.

What word do you most like the sound of? Not your favourite word, but the word that you find the most evocative?

Which websites do you visit most often?
Amazon for books , iTunes for my music and weather websites to see if its going to be fine for cycling

Who or what do you listen to on the radio?
Brian Matthews “Sounds of the 60’s”. Jeremy Vine show , Johnny Walker “Sounds of the 70’s” , Steve Lamacq and Bob Harris. I used to really enjoy the “Radio 2 Arts Show with Claudia Winkelman but now she’s gone and Penny Smith's taken over I don’t.

What was the best television programme ever made?

Toss up between Fawlty Towers and Champion the Wonder Horse

What book in childhood made the biggest impression on you?
For completely different reasons (1) – To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee and (2) Sinful Pleasures – Mills & Boon, which my mum gave me as part of my sex education when I was nine! She underlined passages which she thought might be helpful but instead only confused.

I sat for hours trying to figure out what “Clive's impressive manhood” actually was. I remember thinking, “well I’ve got a duffle coat , that’s got a hood but it’s a bit grubby.”

What's your current book at bedtime?
Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghase

Van-Gogh Self Portrait
Do you go to the theatre and what did you last see?

Occasionally – I recently saw Les Miserables for the fourth time

Who or what makes you laugh?
Friends, family and often strangers saying something spontaneously funny.

What single work of art do you find the most moving or intriguing?
van Gogh - Self Portrait

Which public figure do you most admire?
No one in particular – Anyone who works tirelessly and selflessly for charitable and worthy causes.

Bolton Town Hall
What is your favourite piece of architecture?
Bolton Town Hall (right).


Least favourite? 
1960s/1970s soulless tower blocks.

Know any good jokes?
"Doctor Doctor I think I’m a moth!"

"I’m just a GP, you need to see a psychiatrist."

"I was on my way to the psychiatrist but then I saw your light."

*Dave Spikey's "Words Don't Come Easy" tour plays at the St Helens Theatre Royal this Saturday, Feb 18, and at the Liverpool Empire on Thursday March 15. Tickets £18.50 from usual outlets.

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