Who the hell’s Jack Hylton, anyway?

Pete Faint:

Jack Hylton is occupying my every waking thought at the moment and I found this from a few years ago, and rather liked it. Thought I’d share it here…

Originally posted on Everyone's an idiot, and there's nothing I can do about it.:

Been a bit slow with the posts recently, huh? Oh well, tough.

I get asked a lot about Jack Hylton, and almost always I can’t be bothered to respond, because it’s unbelievably dull. If you really want know, visit the website like what there’s a picture of, and don’t ask me about it again.

I recently helped the BBC out a bit with a Morecambe and Wise drama thing which had some scenes with Jack Hylton in. It got me thinking and I decided that I better write the book sooner rather than later, if I’m ever going to do it – nobody has ever done one, perhaps because it’s too dull, but I think I’m going to do it anyway.  So anyway, I’ve written my first draft synopsis to send to, like, publishers and shit, so thought I’d share it. Stop now if you might in any way be…

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520 – Er, hello…?

Me being all Christmassy and that.

Me being all Christmassy and that.

Funny how things happen then don’t happen anymore. I was reminded tonight that I wrote 104 blogs in 104 days this time last year. It seems like an eternity away.

Literally everything has changed since then, but I’m not averse to starting this again, at a time when I really am pressured by time. Somehow it always seems the best time. However, I need to be guarded and respectful and ironically this now isn’t the situation to say everything which is in my head.

Which is strange. I always thought my blog was a place to be open and out there, even though anyone in the world could look at it (and given the sort of stuff I wrote four years ago about myself is still there, it’s pretty strange). I’m pondering doing this again, but I’m respectful of my situation.

I realise some of you don’t understand the cryptic nature of this, but you don’t need to. All I’m saying at the moment, really, is that this blog is still alive, I still believe in it and I still think it’s something I’m going to keep going with it. It’ll be five years old at the end of this month. How ridiculous!

But it’s also worth flagging up that I thought that if I blogged a lot, I’d be more capable of writing a book. Then I wrote a book. Perhaps that’s the natural end to it all, but then, I didn’t write a book which bore any relevance to what I was blogging about, so perhaps there’s still life in this yet.

So anyway, dear reader, hello. Welcome back? Maybe. Maybe I’ll say nothing, maybe I’ll find a way to start blogging every day, but that might not be my best idea… At the very least, happy new year.

Welcome to the new blog!

Pete Faint:

Here’s a new thing I’m doing. Feel free to completely ignore it!

Originally posted on Jack Hylton:


Hi folks,

It’s Pete Faint here, from jackhylton.com. This is a new blog for a new project – the celebrations surrounding the 50th anniversary of the death of Jack Hylton and the gala concert which is currently in the planning stages.

I’m hoping this is going to be a spectacular celebration of the life and music of one of Britain’s most important figures within the entertainment industry. As well as the concert, to be staged exactly 50 years to the day since Hylton’s death, we’re hoping to have a brand new book available and we’re currently courting TV and radio production companies to interest them too.

The purpose of this blog is not only to log this journey, but also to publicise the event(s) and encourage collaboration where possible.

If you’re interested in this, don’t hesitate to contact me pete@petefaint.com

In the meantime, I hope there’ll be plenty of…

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518 – The 104 Days Of Christmas

Thank goodness this is all over for now...

Thank goodness this is all over for now…

Quite some time ago (around four months ago), I wrote a post called “The 105 Days Of Christmas”. Wow that seems like a long time ago. In that post was a lie.

I started this thinking that Mrs. Faint was going to be working away from October 21st until February 2nd. Well, it turns out that her last show is today, which makes it one hundred and four days, not one hundred and five. Well, I said I’d write until she got back and she’s back today, so sod this, I’m not bothering anymore thanks very much. A hundred and four posts in a hundred and four days has pretty much finished me off, as every single person reading the last dozen or so posts is abundantly aware.

I sort of wish I hadn’t started it. It’s wasted so many mornings over the last four months I can’t tell you. Day after day I’ve pretty much written off the entire morning staring at this laptop screen and wondering what the hell I’m going to write. This won’t happen any more and I can’t help but feel I’ll be considerably more productive as a consequence. Instead of writing all this shit, I’m going to actually do some paid work. Yes, I know. Work. And there actually is a little bit of work to do, which is something of a miracle in these dark times of work dribbling in. Continue reading

517 – An old story…

Keep it closed, and wait for the band...

Keep it closed, and wait for the band…

Just remembered a story I’ve often told about a show I did. If you type ‘am dram hell’ into the search engine on this page, you’ll get the full three parts, but this is the best bit. This is taking you back to 2011, and I’ve been true to my word since then. Oh, I love this, by the way!

So it’s the interval, and all the talk is of near-death set catastrophes, but true to form, the band disappear back to their smelly little dressing room and start whinging. After we’d had our gentlemanly cup of tea, we decided to have a stab at the age-old band room staple, “Kick The Coke Bottle Into The Bin Then Cheer Hysterically If Anyone Gets It In”, which has served us well for a number of years.

This was a particularly disappointing version of the game with only one freak member of the band able to get anywhere near a consistent level of success. Still, we persevered. After an inordinately long amount of time, it was pointed out that things had gone rather quiet. Quiet outside in the corridor, especially quiet on the relay speaker in the dressing room. I wasn’t bothered about this. I was waiting for my poorly delivered call to start and that was that.

A few more minutes passed and we decided to have a look out into what it became clear was an empty corridor, normally full of giddy am dram people being giddy. A solitary member of the crew came bounding down the corridor saying, “Where’s the band, where’s the band?” We’re here, we helpfully suggested, waiting for our call. “We’ve started! You need to go to the pit!”  Well, no my dear, we hadn’t started. I was the MD, and I was the one who started the Entr’acte, so of course we hadn’t started if I wasn’t in the pit.

Except that somehow they had started. From what I can gather from my Coke bottle based fun, was that in the drama of re-setting the over ambitious arch piece of set (read the previous entry) someone had forgotten to tell people that we’d started. Except all the cast were floating about being giddy/concerned, depending on how much they’d seen of the incident, so they were all ready. We’d been forgotten about (after all, it’s only the band, in a musical, no big deal). Front of house clearance had happened. As I’ve mentioned, there were no comms in the pit, so nobody could communicate in a normal theatrical way to ascertain that the band were in place. All the people sat down, the house lights went down, and no music happened. After an amount of time that I’m not aware of, rather than try and find out where the band were and perhaps get them into position, they decided to put the house lights up and the first few people in the first scene came on stage.

This is an interesting approach, but one which ultimately would fail, no matter what happened. At some point, there would be a song, and the music for that song wouldn’t start. Were they planning to do the second half as a play?

I’m not sure, but it didn’t come to that. The next person with a line, one of the ‘leads’, only left her dressing room when she heard the Entr’acte, which of course she didn’t hear. Therefore, with house lights down and stage lights on, three people with no lines came on and started doing some background acting. Then carried on. Nothing happened. Then they did it a bit more. To be honest, I don’t know how long they were there. It may have only been a few seconds.

When it became clear that we ought to go into the pit, we left the dressing room. Unfortunately, for reasons I won’t bore you with, two of the band had to walk into the pit through the auditorium. In silence. And darkness. Then there were various checks we needed to do, switch things on, put on headphones etc., all of which was done in complete silence and pitch black. The background actors on stage were still background acting, as they had been when they walked on to silence.

I then thought that we would be short changing the audience if they didn’t get to hear the Entr’acte, so we played it in full. Rather than take the stage lights down and give the actors a break, they stayed on, and throughout the two minute opening, they stayed and carried on doing their background acting. At the end of that, the scene started up and the lead came on as if nothing had happened. The audience were bewildered, didn’t react to the Entr’acte at all, and I suspect some thought it was all part of the ‘comedy’. It wasn’t.

Still, they all clapped at the end, and nobody was blamed. I suppose I could have not played the Entr’acte, but there was nobody to tell that to (have I mentioned there were no comms in the pit?) so I don’t think I had any choice. It could have been an interesting stalemate though, I wonder what would have happened?

Still, as somebody said pertinently afterwards, “it’s all good fodder for the blog”. Yes, indeed it is.

The week as a whole had quite a profound effect on me, and I shall no longer be involving myself in something of this nature. I don’t think I quite worded it in that way at the end of the run, but that’s essentially it. For the foreseeable future, I’m afraid I won’t be able to regale you with storied of Am Dram hell.

It’s better for the integrity of my skull. And the pit wall.

516 – Runner’s Knee (Part Six)

Yes, this picture again, because I'm so annoyed I can't be bothered to find another picture.

Yes, this picture again, because I’m so annoyed I can’t be bothered to find another picture.

Yes, it goes on. This really is the sixth time I’ve written about my stupid running injury. As you’ll gather by the tone of those first two sentences, it’s still going on and it’s not better yet. As I mentioned last time, I decided after my previous physio visit that I couldn’t walk properly, or indeed run properly and that I had a wonky leg.

I went out for a very long walk a couple of days later, which was rather strange in that I mostly stared at my right leg as I compensated for it being on the wonk. Of course I wasn’t sure whether this was a good thing to do but I went for it anyway. I continued to do the exercised, except the ones I couldn’t do.  All they did was remind me of how sore my knee caps used to be back in the day and how much I compensate for them hurting. There’s certain standing up movements which I just can’t do and half-bending my knees is something which just doesn’t happen and hasn’t for many years.

So, I carried on doing the things I was doing before, didn’t do most of the new things, and booked in again with the physio (this is getting expensive) whilst pondering my wonky leg and how much it’s to do with my wonky pelvis and subsequently how much it’s all got to do with playing the piano. Continue reading

515 – Russia

Russia, innit?

Russia, innit?

Went to Russia, didn’t I? There’s the evidence. It’s me, in front of St. Basil’s Basilica. It’s in Red Square. That’s cool right? Well, actually it’s bloody freezing. It was minus sixteen degrees at the time this picture was taken. That god I bought that hat shortly before I went away. I’m not entirely sure I’d have managed to still be outside at this point without it.

Minus sixteen is really, really cold.

Of course I was working. I don’t go anywhere if I’m not working. We’d been out and about for a bit and gone for dinner somewhere a little bit too far away. Despite doing a bit of strategic warming up shopping on the way back from the too-far-away restaurant we were still pretty cold. As is always the way with trips like this, there’s never really any chance to see much more than the hotel, the gig and the airport but it’s Russia and I’ve never been before and I was determined to get a picture in Red Square. Didn’t get into the Kremlin, didn’t see anything more than the outside of Lenin’s tomb (I think it’s that anyway). It looks pretty relaxed, doesn’t it? I promise we literally ran into Red Square, took a bunch of photos on various people’s phones and got out of there sharpish, back to the five star hotel and into bed to warm up.

That, however, was sufficient. I will forever have the picture of me in a stupid hat, standing outside St. Basil’s Basilica, which was pretty much what I wanted. No, we didn’t really do any proper tourist things, but I did get these:

Russian dolls, innit?

Russian dolls, innit?

which is pretty much what you have to do when you’re in Russia, right? And to be fair, we were working, so it’s kind of fair enough that you don’t get to see everything. Got to see plenty of the hotel bar though, and plenty of the inside of a pint glass. I suppose I ought to mention the gig. It was fine, it passed without consequence in the grand scheme of things. Drank vodka.

That’s all, that’s what we call a photo blog post (or an excuse to write less words than normal). Either that or I’m just using it as an excuse to boast that I went somewhere other than my front room.