Social secretary

January 27, 2009


I’ve become a Social Secretary. How it happened I’m not so sure. I’ve never seeked high office. I was off at a Barack Obama Quiz Night Party when Vicky, the genius behind Note-orious, the choir I am now a member of, said she needed people to form a committee. And somehow or other last night at our first choir practice of 2009 I was voted in as the Social Secretary. This for someone who has enough difficulty just saying “hello” to people.

That’s me above with Phil Denison and Trev Neal. We’d organised a comedy gig in a field. This would be in the late 70’s/early 80’s when comedy gigs in fields were all the rage. You may remember FieldAid in 1983 when comedians with coutryside-related names got together to try and raise awareness about the plight of the field mouse; Harry Hill, Sid Fields, Shane Meadows (not strictly speaking a comedian- he made a short black and white film for the occasion called Somerfields), Lee Cornes, Benny Hill, Bob Mills, Charlie Drake, Chris Rock, Craig Hill, Noel Fielding, Dave Gorman, Eugene Cheese, Glenn Wool, Harry Enfield, Jeff Green, Jimmy Cricket, Joan Rivers, Jon Plowman, Joe Cornish, Katy Brand, Keith Fields, Matthew Horne, Mike Gunn, Paul Thorne, Reece Shearsmith, Reginald D. Hunter, Richard Herring, Rob Deering, Russell Brand, Sean Lock, Tim Vine, Tommy Cooper and Victoria Wood.

It was a pretty big bill, and every comedian who was a big noise in 1983 tried to get their five minutes in that field. We had no hope. Neither of our names lent themselves to any aspect of the countryside. Having said that, a few of the above were lucky to make it. There a was petition sent around by some peacenik comedian trying to get Mike Gunn banned. Mike pointed out that just because he was called Gunn didn’t mean he either liked or even had a gun. They let him in. The biggest fuss was over Dave Gorman. A lot of comedians tried to have him barred. He said he was allowed in because he knew a friend of a friend who lost an arm in a nasty combine harvester accident. Cheeky, I know. And also trying to make light out of a tragedy. The event chairman, Angus Deayton, overruled all objections and let him in.

FieldAid took place a year before LiveAid. By the time of LiveAid these charity types had got their act together. FieldAid was a fiasco; All comedians overrun, and with the exception of Charlie Drake (who did a tight two and a half minutes) the average set ran to about 17 minutes. Jimmy Cricket did 78 minutes! The whole event went on past 8 o’clock and no one thought about bringing any lights. By the time Victoria Wood brought the show to a close at 5.34am there were only four people left in the field.

Still, I remember it fondly, as I’m sure you do if you were there. And it’s legacy? The field mouse is no longer endangered. Job done.

I hope I’ve learnt from events like FieldAid. I hope I can put what I have learnt to use as Social Secretary for Note-orious.

Please feel free to leave your comments, particularly if you attended or performed at FieldAid. I would love to share your memories.