[2010015] The Needle And The Damage Done

The Needle And The Damage Done [FringeTIX]

Fiona Scott-Norman @ The Hive

9:30pm, Wed 17 Feb 2010

I’m in The Garden on a Wednesday night, having drunkenly trotted from dinner & drinks at the Exeter; there’s plenty of people milling around, watching the buskers, but there’s a mighty crowd of four outside The Hive at the prescribed start time.

And that depresses me.

The start gets bumped out a few minutes, and a few more people turn up. The initial group of four – myself included – take the front row of The Hive once the doors open, and late-comers gradually fill the seats – in the end, the crowd wasn’t too bad. But as for the show…

I fucking loved it.

Fiona Scott-Norman has got a lot of things going for her, in my eyes; she looks like a long-haired (and happy) Tilda Swinton (and I love Tilda Swinton) in a wonderful late-seventies dress, she exudes confidence, and her style is immediately charming. And so, before a single note is played, I’m already hooked.

The show is, of course, Scott-Norman’s celebration of bad music. Bad songs, bad album covers, bad artists. There’s a fair few appearances by John Laws – who knew the man was so into trucking and poetry? – and other “celebrities”… The Hoff was a shoe-in, sure, but Bruce Willis and William Shatner also get a berth.

But there’s also albums of truly awful cover tunes sung by footballers. The white supremacy hate-mongering of the teenage Gaede twins in Prussian Blue. The soundtrack to the blaxploitation porn of Tongue. The inevitable list of music suggested “evil” by the impetus of the PMRC – including Abba (“Remember their massive hit, Ring Ring C@#t?”). And a frankly horn-inducing segment where Scott-Norman daintily sipped a cup of tea and gobbled an éclair whilst we listened to the glorious strains of Come In My Mouth (from the bizarre Let My People Come soundtrack).

Fiona’s grooving and singing during the songs is fantastic – it had every opportunity to be cringingly embarrassing, but she manages to pull it off. Her iPod and turntable skills are sublime. But in the end, it comes down to her final selection, Fiona’s pick as the Worst Record of All-Time. And, even with my knowledge of Free Jazz and bizarre experimental bands, I’ve never, ever, heard anything quite as mis-timed, syncopated, and downright bad as her choice. I’ll not mention it by name here – you really should go the the show to have Fiona unveil it for you! – but, if you’re brave, YouTube has the goodies.

As I said before, I loved this show. It’s everything I want from a Fringe comedy performance – a luscious hostess, a quirky premise, lots of laughs, and a teensy bit of awkwardness. Brilliant :D

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