Upstaged by the cocktail sausages | Jonny Awsum shares his Unforgettable Five gigs

Upstaged by the cocktail sausages

Jonny Awsum shares his Unforgettable Five gigs

Jonny Awsum returns to Edinburgh following his success in Britain’s Got Talent – here are five more memorable gigs from his career…

Worst start

I was performing at The Thistle Hotel in London and I thought it would be impressive to do a forward roll on to the stage. I managed the roll but foolishly grabbed for the microphone wire as I did so. The momentum of my heels passing over my head propelled the mic from its stand and catapulted it into my face.

I stood up and hoped the audience might not have noticed. ‘Hello London, it’s good to be here tonight!’ I chirped.

‘You’re bleeding,’ said a concerned woman in the front row.

Strangest set-up

I remember waiting in the wings to play a working men’s club in Lancashire and wondering why there were tables running along the width of the stage covered in tea towels. I soon found out when the bloke running the event introduced me: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, Jonny Awsum! Oh, and the buffet is now open so do help yourselves.’

I spent the first ten minutes of my set with people queuing past me, loading up on cocktail sausages and trying to decide between tuna and cheese sandwiches.

Yummiest food

Life on the road can often smell of Pot Noodle but touring with Paul Hollywood from The Great British Bake Off was a very different story. I was given a dressing room at The Hammersmith Apollo bigger than my first London flat but, even better, I got to eat the Apple Pie and Black Forest Gateau Paul had baked during the show – truly scrumptious.

Worst sound man

I was playing a huge theatre and before the gig I’d explained to the sound man that I’d only need him for one thing which was to press play on a CD at the very end of my set.

The gig went well and I prepped the audience for the big finale so they could join in. I hyped them up to boiling point and said: ‘Sound man – hit the music!’ Nothing happened. I said it again. And again. And again. Silence.

So instead of me singing over a thumping bassline and driving beat we ended up doing a stilted and embarrassing a capella rap. I packed up my gear and left the gig to find the sound man standing outside in the car park smoking a fag and talking to one of the barmaids.

Greatest fulfilment of childhood dream

I grew up watching Challenge Anneka as a kid and so like most of my generation I’ve always loved Anneka Rice. When Anneka came to the Edinburgh Festival to host The Arts Show for Radio 2 I was lucky enough to be invited on to do a live performance.

I ended up serenading Anneka with a comedy love song live on air and wrote into the song that if she laughed at the end it meant she was ready to run away with me. She couldn’t help but laugh but I’m still waiting for her to text me the day we’re running away together.

Jonny Awsum: Honey, I Promised the Kid, Just The Tonic @ The Caves, 16:05

Published: 2 Aug 2017

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