Soon the introductory chords of what I immediately recognised as Vic Reeves and the Wonder Stuff’s ‘Dizzy’ blasted out.
From Work of Art
Today comedy exists, especially on television, in a largely commodified form with a million panel show cloned off Have I Got News For You. But it was not always like this, way back in the day (well the eighties) saw new comedy, that had fermented in the likes of the Comedy Store, in the form of Saturday Night Live, The Young Ones and the Comic Strip Presents taking on and replacing the traditional club circuit comics seen on The Comedians and Wheel Tappers And Shunters.
Then into the nineties with, if not a truce developing exactly, then a kind of trench warfare stalemate. But one that still allowed some interesting developments out in no man’s land with the equivalent of the Christmas Day armistice game of footie. Literally, in the case of David Baddiel coming off The Mary Whitehouse Eperience to join up with Frank Skinner, a comic very much influenced by the club tradition, to create the Fantasy Football League.
But probably the most interesting merger of the traditions was Vic Reeves. His Big Night Out with Bob Mortimer (who he had virtually dragged out of the audience to be his partner) was a surreal take on a musical hall show. When it went to television it soon became a cult hit helped by the fact that it was packed solid with repeatable catchphrases, such as “What’s at the end of the stick, Vic?”, “You would not let it lie.”, “Very poor.”
Eventually Vic and Bob went overground and by the time of Shooting Stars was pretty much in the mainstream ie Another Bloody Panel Show (if with still a bit of a surreal twist.)
Music and songs were a constant in the act so it was kind of inevitable that Vic would do a record. In contrast to usual groan-worthy attempts by comics of previous generations (see Benny Hill) Vic teamed up with The Wonderstuff to cover an old Tommy Roe track, ‘Dizzy’ and produced something rather fantastic that went to number one.
So another obvious track to add to a party scene in ‘Work of Art’ and to may be nudge some memories of the changing face of comedy.
The song remained popular for a while afterwards too… I remember going to an alternative night at rock club a few years latter where towards the end of the evening the DJ would regularly put on ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’ – during the Devil’s bit of fiddling he’d always cut in another track, the chorus of ‘Dizzy’ being popular common choice.
Like a whirlpool, it never ends