How I got banned from The Stand | Paul Vickers – aka Twonkey – recalls his Unforgettable Five gigs

How I got banned from The Stand

Paul Vickers – aka Twonkey – recalls his Unforgettable Five gigs

First gig

My first gig as a stand up was at The Stand in Edinburgh. It was successful in terms of getting the laughs but it was messy in terms of covering the stage in Lyle's Golden Syrup.

My routine involved a waffle bar in which my dragon witch side kick Twonkey (a puppet, now dead) got a bit too excited as she knocked many a gooey waffle onto the floor. Daniel Sloss came on and his designer trainers stuck to the stage, he was not happy.

I was banned from The Stand, however the ban was lifted after five years had passed. The boy that mopped up that night still works at The Stand. He's a barman now and he's never forgotten.

Still he said he enjoyed my set the last time I played so maybe the healing has begun.

Best gig

I loved playing the Soho Theatre. It's the little things, like having your own miniature hair salon backstage. However, I forgot one of my key props and only realised an hour before I went on. I rushed out and bought an old mop head and a cabbage as a replacement and no one noticed.

Just before my first show there we went for a meal in a restaurant where the staff were taking turns at wearing various forms of fancy dress and sitting in the window pretending to be customers as business was bad. No wonder - the food was terrible, however I couldn't have cared less - I was about to play the Soho Theatre.

Strangest audience member

There was a guy that had taken a lot of acid in on the last Sunday of the fringe in 2011. He was convinced that I was doing the whole act to do his head in and that it had all been constructed just for him, 'bespoke' as wankers say these days.

Afterwards he was scared to leave the building, two hours later he was still huddled in the doorway of the venue with fast darting eyes clutching one of the tarot cards I gave him.

Most exotic gig

The Prague Fringe is a bit exotic, lovely atmosphere too they say it's like Edinburgh was back in the 1960s when it was just Peter Cook in a pub. As I was not alive then it's hard to compare but it's certainly cosy, fun and elegant in terms of location.

One Czech audience member said to me, 'I would understand your show better if I spoke better English,' and I said: 'Don't bank on it, mate.'

Weirdest gig as a punter

During the Edinburgh Fringe there's so many but watching a man slowly eat a bag of light bulbs to the soundtrack of The Birdie Song to an audience of three people has stayed with me.

• Twonkey's Christmas in the Jungle: Heroes @ Dragonfly at 19:20

Published: 15 Aug 2017

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