Rychard Carrington reports on John Shuttleworth - The Maltings, Ely, 24 November 2010

John Shuttleworth in a shed
The Maltings, Ely


John Shuttleworth, versative singer-organist from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, may be no spring chicken - he realises that - yet surely he is a veritable evergreen. It's nearly twenty-three years since I first saw him live, supporting Jonathan Richman at Leicester Poly (and he didn't look so young then), yet still I find him utterly captivating. He's a lovely man, a lovely man.


He's also a man who tells it like it is. He articulates in no uncertain terms what everyone's noticed, but few have mentioned. He is a champion of endangered species: crab paste, bars of soap, rolls (threatened by upstarts like, respectively, taramosolata, liquid hand wash bottles, pitta bread). He boldly faces up to life's dilemmas (Two Margarines On The Go, I Can't Go Back To Savoury Now), and proffers an alternative culture to Nirvana's grunge in Smells Like White Spirit.


For the initiated, golden greats Y Reg, Have You seen My Wife?, Modern Man, Serial Cereal Eater, Save The Whale (my especial favourite), Eggs And Gammon, and, inevitably, Pigeons In Flight nestled satisfactorily alongside arresting newer numbers How's Your Nan? (a grandmother/Indian food pun), Magic Carpet, One Cup Of Tea Is Never Enough (And Two Is One Too Many) and a song that combines a touching expression of marital love with the saga of seeking to purchase a toaster on e-bay (crumb-tray an added extra) for 99p. Brian Appleton and Dave Tordoff were in absentia, but telephone calls to Mary Shuttleworth and Ken Worthington were broadcast, in the way to which we have become accustomed.


Oh, you know: it's the same old John Shuttleworh and he's brilliant, like no one else. You don't know? Ah, well he's an acquired taste. Allow me to take the liberty of linking you to a place where you might best acquire said taste.


Long live John Shuttleworth, and a sincere thank you.


Writer: Rychard Carrington