John Shuttleworth Interview

Now and again we like to look backwards and pluck things from our archive. Some stuff is timeless isn’t it? Take John Shuttleworth for example. He’s seemingly never been a young man but equally he’s not aged has he? With that in mind we’ve decided to re-publish an interview we did with the great man a full seven and a half years ago. 

Yes, that’s right, our comedy hero saw fit to spare a few moments of his busy lifestyle which takes in life’s real pleasures- garden centres, DIY, caring for the environment, that kind of thing.

He talks about how Westlife should seriously consider the building trade on their retirement from pop music; How Daniel Bedingfield has a voice far too high for a grown man from the UK; Post Christmas clear outs and many many more pearls of wisdom.

Seriously, if you have never heard him or seen him, you should consider getting yourself a ticket for his tour which kicks off in Glasgow on April Fools Day and takes him all the way to France (Well, Jersey) at the end of May.

Ladies and gentlemen, make yourself a ‘campuccino’, put your feet up and enjoy the genius that is John Shuttleworth.

JOHN, IT’S BEEN A WHILE, WHAT HAVE THE SHUTTLEWORTH FAMILY AND SOLE AGENT KEN BEEN UP TO? HAS KEN FOUND LOVE YET? ARE THERE ANY ADDITIONS TO HIS STABLE?

Oof! Such a lot of questions and of a highly personal nature. But since you ask, me wife Mary has been busy having a post-Christmas clearout of items which I had to store in the loft. (3 journeys required). Our loft ladder has rather narrow treads and is on a very steep incline which might deter a lot of people, but not me, no Siree! I put on my new trainers especially, plus a halter neck fleece (in case of sudden temperature change due to the high altitude). Needless to say the items were stored swiftly and safely. Whilst I was up there I heard an alarm go off which turned out to be my daughter Karen’s tamagotchi needing feeding. Luckily I knew which button to press so was able to top it up til it’d had sufficient food.

Ken has been dating a widow called Moira who delivers the free newspapers. She wants Ken to accompany her cos on dark evenings it can be a bit scary, but Ken won’t (because he’s scared of the dark, I reckon!)

No new acts a present. Ken has confided in me that he is considering approaching Charlotte Church but is concerned that she seems to be a bit of a loose cannon. Having said that, she does wear spangly tops which is massively in her favour. Lets just wait and she what happens there, shall we?

WHY DO YOU THINK RHIANNON DENIED KEN ON “NEW FACES” ALL THOSE YEARS AGO?

Because Ken put her in an impossible situation. By looking at the camera as if he’d seen a ghost – an expression, incidentally, not unlike the one Deirdre Barlow (off Coro) adopts when she’s angry – Ken blew the fairytale atmosphere he had created earlier in the routine when he tappdanced in a dainty fashion around Rhiannon (she of course was in a wicker chair playing the harp). Anyhow, Tony Hatch was horrified at Ken’s silly expression and crucified him – justifiably so. How could Rhiannon continue to associate herself with Ken from that point on? She couldn’t and immediately began divorce proceedings.

AS ONE OF OUR STYLE ICONS, COULD YOU TELL US WHAT YOU’RE WEARING TODAY?

It’s rather cold today so I’m wearing me thermals, lad. Also two pairs of socks and two V neck leisure shirts, with a polo neck sweater on top of them (rucking up unpleasantly in the V area). I’m nipping out shortly to see if the traffic lights on the slip road to M18 have been restored. Naturally I’ll be wearing me fleece. Interestingly, fleeces have now overtaken the cagoule in popularity, haven’t they? (I’ve got mixed feelings about that, as I’m sure you have).

AND AS ONE OF OUR MUSICAL ICONS CAN YOU TEL US YOUR ALL TIME FAVOURITE SONG AND ARTISTS YOU CURRENTLY LISTEN TO.

Well, that has to be one of me own “Pigeons in Flight”. It’s a haunting ballad, so catchy that once heard, it will keep the listener awake at night deep into the wee hours. Sorry about that folks, but I didn’t ask the muse to strike. “Pigeons in flight ….. I wanna see you tonight!”

I quite like The Alarm (50 pee from the Sue Ryder Shop). They create a fabulous sense of fun with their blond spikey manes, and I’ve recently rediscovered Peter Skellen – also 50 pee, and long overdue for a comeback.

I like Daniel Bedingfield’s “If You’re Not The One” because it makes you cry – although that can be embarrassing in a public place ( in our local hardware shop it’s played thrice daily!) – and his voice does go a bit high for a grown man from the UK.

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT THE CURRENT STATE OF POP AND ALL THESE FLASH IN THE PAN REALITY TV MANUFACTURED BANDS?

Pop has not been in such a healthy state since Tight Fit and the Goombay Dance Band jostled for the top spot in March 82. Westlife are hardly flash in the pan, are they? And when they do call it a day I sincerely hope they’ll stay together and make a go of it as a team of reputable builders.

Will and Gareth aren’t of sufficiently stocky build to do that – yet, but give’em time – and I do feel young Gareth has a bit too much hair gel in his hair, which could flick off into the audience when he rocks his head from side to side, which to his credit he does repeatedly, though sometimes he forgets to punch the air on key phrases. Concentrate lad!

CAN YOU ELABORATE ABOUT MEETING/LOSING YOUR FIRST WIFE, OR WILL MARY BECOME CROSS?

No I can’t. Yes she will…..

WOULD YOU STILL BE ON RADIO 2 OR HAS IT GONE A BIT TOO TRENDY NOW?

I’ve never had a series on Radio 2. I don’t know where you heard that one, lad. I would have loved to be a member of the posse for Charlie Chester when he was on Radio 2 (That’s when it was trendy, by the way). Every Sunday afternoon, it was. But, alas, Charlie didn’t have a posse, and as a result sounded a bit forlorn. You should be more upbeat when announcing deaths or describing terminal illnesses. Otherwise what’s the point in carrying on!

DID YOU GET ANY GOOD PRESENTS FOR CHRISTMAS?

Yes, Mary bought me a pair of ear defenders and a high visibility waistcoat – it’s so I can cut the hedge at dusk and remain safe. (I’d already got the shatterproof goggles, in case you were wondering). Incidentally, I bought Mary a new pressure cooker, plus a pack of those anti-static pads, you know, that you place on the end of a mop or sweeper to clean the dust up –fantastic!

WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF 2002 FOR YOU?

Apart from opening our Christmas presents ..,? Erm, probably watching the astonishingly talented Brian May play for the Queen on the palace roof. Anything could have happened. He could have played a wrong note. He could have lost his footing and tumbled to his death. But he did neither. Wow, what a cool customer!

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS?

To try my hardest not to over or under estimate the quantity of polyfilla required for a particular job.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THESE NEW GUARANA BARS? ARE THEY SET TO OVERTAKE THE TRACKER BAR?

What are they? I’ve never heard of them. Are they only available in health food shops? If so, it could explain why they’re unfamiliar to me, as I’m allergic to the “herby” smell ever present in those establishments. Yes, I go all dizzy, which is a shame because I’m missing out, I know I am.

No, nothing will ever overtake the Tracker bar….unless they reinstate the cardboard strip in the Bounty bar. Then, I suppose the Tracker bar could be in trouble. Oof!

WHAT ARE THE THEMES/IDEAS BEHIND THE LATEST TOUR? ANY NEW SONGS TO PUNCH THE AIR TO?

This new show is all about security advice – at home and in the community. You should plan your route to the post office so you’re under the watchful eye of a security camera at all times. But don’t get all cocky and starry –eyed just cos you’re on telly all the time!

New songs include a hard –hitting number called “Disaffected Youth”. It goes; “Disaffected youth….unkempt and uncouth…” I can’t remember anymore but you know….it’s a good number, I think.

Oh yes, I’ve just remembered the chorus which you can definitely punch the air to: “How now, young laddo….Stop lurking in the shadows….Or you’ll wake up one day to find you’re swinging from the gallows!!!!” It’s designed to shock youngsters out of their delinquency. I must send a copy to TV’s Nick Ross….

YOU PASSED THROUGH PROPERTOP’S HOME OF STOCKPORT ON THE 500 BUS STOPS TOUR (AS WELL AS PLAYING THE ROMILEY FORUM A FEW YEARS BACK). ANY FOND MEMORIES OR INTERESTING STORIES ABOUT THE PLACE?

I kept looking around and thinking there’s no Ikea! No, I’m only joking. That was a bit nasty of me, because I’m well aware your town is in mourning because you’re not allowed to have an Ikea store. But maybe that’s because it’s rather rough round Romiley…oof! Sounds like I’m doing a tonguetwister. It wasn’t my intention, honest lad….

Copyright John Shuttleworth. January 2003A few more recent examples of John’s work. For further details please get in contact with his next door neighbour (and sole agent) Ken Worthington.

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