Ref NoBSUCA/OD/1/66
CollectionOliver Double Collection
TitleCharlie Holland interviewed by Oliver Double
Name of creatorDouble, Oliver, 1965-
Date20 March 2018
Duration33 min. 17 sec.
Extent2 audio files Broadcast WAVE Format
DescriptionCharlie Holland interviewed by Oliver Double, telephone interview, 20 March 2018.
Track 1 [00:02:29] Olly Double (OD) asks about the juggling double act that Charlie Holland was in, the Long and the Short of It. CH says he saw the Karamazov Brothers in 1981, which inspired him to become a juggler. On Wednesday 7 April 1982 found a juggling teacher to teach him the basic three-ball cascade. At that point it was a lot harder to learn juggling. Interference starts to make speech inaudible. [02:30] Recording ends.
Track 2 [00:30:47] CH talks about the Covent Garden street act scene in 1982. He came from Somerset, and bumped into Olly Crick, who he’d been at school with. Olly had a theatre background, but CH hadn’t. CH got some training e.g. Gaulier clown course, and then started performing a double act with Olly. The bulk of their comedy circuit work was 1986-88. They would perform at venues like the Bearcat Club, the Comedy Store, Jongleurs, Downstairs at the King’s Head. OD asks how the venues compared with each other. CH talks about the different types of venue, some more performance art oriented. CH had associated variety with tackiness, fishnet tights and gentlemen’s clubs. Now there was a new generation of performers like Pookiesnackenburger, JJ Waller and Tim Bat, and the venues were also part of the revolution against what had gone before. They enjoyed adapting the act for small venues like Downstairs at the King’s Head and the Comedy Store, but also enjoyed playing bigger places like the Hackney Empire and Jongleurs. [05:44] CH talks about skill and not liking acts that were based on pure technique. He describes bits in their act which were not about skill, but engaging an audience. He contrasts the audiences at Jongleurs and the Tunnel. OD talks about being interested in the street acts on the cabaret circuit, like Steve Rawlings, and asks what was it that made the street acts different from the earlier generations of jugglers. CH says it was partly about them just being younger. The acts they’d seen had been on programmes like The Black and White Minstrels, so didn’t resonate with him. The Paul Daniels Magic Show was different, because its producer John Fisher got some brilliant acts for it, like Airjazz, Michael Moschen. There was technical innovation, but also trying to find material from past acts. They would see acts and not realise the material was copied from a historical act. He saw the Karamazov Brothers at the interval of a Grateful Dead concert at the Rainbow, and they were part of the San Francisco counterculture. A manufacturer called Renegade made a juggling club that looked like a nuclear warhead. [11:08] CH talks in details about the Covent Garden scene. There were no variety venues at the time, so the street offered performing opportunities. With Max Oddball, they developed a pub circuit where they would go around in the summer and perform in pub beer gardens. CH reads a list of acts from a copy of City Limits: Randolph the Remarkable, Fatima the Fantastic, Sid Rasputin, Lady Christabel, Ozzy’s Crew, the Vicious Boys, Nickelodeon. He talks about Randolph Remarkable putting a plastic washing-up bowl on his tummy. OD asks whether what was alternative about the street acts was presenting something ridiculous as if it was a feat of skill, mentioning JJ Waller, and his own experiences of seeing spesh acts on the circuit when he started out. CH says that while some acts were very skilled, others focused more on making what they did entertaining. He talks about the Long and the Short not having world-class skills and describes the more comic elements of the act. An act with character and attitude was better than a dull, technically brilliant one. [17:10] CH talks about programming the Circus Space cabarets, seeing amazing acts in Germany, but knowing that only a minority of them would work in the UK. Technical skills were more important to German audiences. In the late 1980s, they’d done a season at a theme park in Japan and performed around the world. They did a five-person show called High Five, and they went to Germany. They saw a company there called British Events, who did things like egg and spoon races, who would make a point of going to the UK to sharpen up their act, because the UK audience is harsher. The audiences in alternative cabaret would let the act know if they weren’t enjoying it. OD asks what techniques they had for dealing with hecklers. CH says they had some anti-heckle lines, but they also used to just do the act quicker. He talks about this at various occasions at the Tunnel. On one occasion, the audience at the Tunnel threw eggs at them. [22:04] OD asks about CAST New Variety venues. CH says they set out to be different from the comedy circuit. Some of the venues were in community halls, so not formal performance spaces. The target audience would be different from the Comedy Store. They also had an interest in variety, and took over the Hackney Empire. CH muses on whether his act with Olly was a political act. They wanted to entertain their postpunk audience. The Vicious Boys were on the front of the Observer, and the annual street act competition would be televised. [26:05] OD thanks CH for the interview, and asks whether he has anything to add. CH says he has a lot of material from the era, e.g. his old diaries. He talks about his current research, putting together a timeline. With online material, you can trace how acts took material from earlier acts. He dislikes ‘photocopy acts’, but doesn’t mind people who adapt material from earlier acts, giving Jeremy Robins’ bathtub routine as an example, a version of which was produced in Germany after Robins stopped doing it. He also mentions some other research he is doing. [30:48] Recording ends.
NotesRecorded using a Zoom H5 (internal mics used).
Filenames when received via Oliver Double: 'Charlie Holland, by telephone, 20 March 2018, part 1.wav' and 'Charlie Holland, by telephone, 20 March 2018, part 2.wav'
PhysicalDescription2 audio files WAV LPCM 48kHz 24 bit stereo
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsThis collection is available for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU only. Access to audio-visual recordings is through digital listening copies. This recording is for academic use only.
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