Monday, 1 June 2009

Phenomenal Memory or Painting a Picture?

On Thursday night I watched Peter Kay's live at Manchester Arena, on DVD. I have also seen his Live at the Bolton Albert Halls DVD, as well as his Phoenix Nights and That Peter Kay Thing. In the latter, my favourite characters were the Ice Cream Salesman, Marc Park, the singer, and Leonard, the elderly man who delivered the local newspaper.

A woman who knew Leonard well remarked that....

"He's everybody's friend, but he's got no friends".

That, for me, was quite a touching line. Whether it was meant to be or not, I don't know.

I identified with Leonard to some extent, such as being misunderstood by the NT masses, and could, with his eccentric manner, inappropriate behaviour and jokes, and interaction, discern some Aspie traits in him.

This portrayal was based on a person who Kay actually knew. The real-life Leonard died in 1991. When he was alive, Leonard was forever telling Kay about all the friends that he had, yet when he died, only four people went to his funeral.

I will always be a natural loner. That is part of me, and who I am. That said, I hope I don't die at home alone, and am there for weeks before being found. In October 1991, this elderly woman who lived near me, Sadie Jackson, died at home. She was there for two weeks before her family bothered to call, and found her.

I find it a pity that Kay hasn't done more send-ups and portrayals like "That Peter Kay Thing", of other people he has met, because he could have developed it further and invented further characters.

I also liked Peter Kay's "Amarillo" and the "I would roll 500 miles" video he did with the Proclaimers.

The only fault I have with Peter Kay is his fondness for talking about what life was like in the 1970's and early 1980's. He seems to love that era for some reason. You can go on about what life was like then and compare it to now, but you can do that with the 1960's, or 1950's or 1940's, or even, the early 1990's, as time progresses and moves on. In 20 or 30 years time, comedians, and perhaps Kay himself, will be on stage going on about life in 2009 and comparing it to how life will be then. He has appeared on nostalgic programmes such as "I remember 1978" or "I remember 1980", describing events from a chosen year in full detail, though he also went on "I remember 1985". I was curious to see how old he is, so I looked at Wikipedia to see when he was born, and it said Monday 2nd July 1973.

Kay is obviously a very observant man. His stand-up work bears this out, but being observant and having a prodigious memory are two seperate entities. To remember life and events from the 1970's and early 1980's, he either has a prodigious memory, or is trying to paint a picture, by going on what he has read and heard from his parents or other family members. I accept his claims to remember things from the mid 1980's in full detail, but I have my doubts about Peter Kay remembering the '70's and early '80's with 100% recall.

When I watched Peter Kay's live at the Bolton Albert Halls in 2003 jokes which stuck in my mind were him remarking that he didn't bother with "Friends Reunited" (This was in the pre-Facebook days) to keep in touch with people from school, but he watched Crimewatch instead, as it saved money! I also liked his poking fun at the illogical things people say, such as asking you "Guess who's died?" when you don't know. It could be anyone. He passed comment on mindless cliches such as "Happy as Larry". Kay asked, in the 2003 stand-up show, that he wanted to know who this "Larry" was and why he was so happy!

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