A rare visit from this original and highly acclaimed singer/songwriter.
Not to be missed.
Oxford graduate, Eton schoolmaster, humorist/singersongwriter/satirist,
storyteller, and longtime partner to Spike Milligan, Jeremy Taylor is
a household name in South Africa and he has the unique dual distinction
of being both banned for ten years by that country’s apartheid government
and simultaneously blacklisted by United Nations for having worked there!
So Jeremy Taylor has no shortage of colourful experiences to draw upon
when creating the wonderfully entertaining material that has kept audiences
roaring with laughter around the world for the best part of 30 years (“..even
the journalists were guffawing in their seats” wrote the Melbourne
Herald’s reviewer after Taylor’s last Australian tour).
Growing up with the very British comedy of The Goons and Flanders and
Swann, but belonging more to the new generation that saw the dawning of
contemporary satirical comedy in Britain with talents like Barry Humphries,
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (a student friend at Oxford) and American
comedy and music influences ranging from Tom Lehrer to Tom Paxton, Taylor’s
career actually started with a teaching post in South Africa.
But the evenings found him in Johannesburg folk clubs singing blues until
a friend, who could sense his great powers of observation and humour,
suggested that he tried writing songs. The result, almost instantly, was
a collection of incisive comedy songs. One in particular, a gentle dig
at the English spoken by South Africans called “Ag Pleez Deddy”,
achieved gold sales status three times over and has become a permanent
part of South African folklore.
Taylor was one of the creators of the notorious South African musical
revue “Wait A Minim!” and in 1963 he travelled back to England
with the show for a two-year run at London’s Fortune Theatre. Turning
his attention to comedy songs and satires on England’s strange but
pleasant land (‘Jobsworth’, ‘Red Velvet Steering-wheel
Cover Driver’, ‘Prawns in the Game’, ‘All Along
The South Coast’....) from 1966 he was in constant demand on the
British folk scene, making records, appearing on television and radio,
and enjoying a two-year partnership with Spike Milligan in a theatrical
experience which was described on the album cover as an “intimate
communication between two lunatics and a rag doll”.
He made many concert appearances with Donald Swann and Sydney Carter,
wrote the score for Joan Littlewood’s West End farce ‘Mrs.
Wilson’s Diary’, co-authored with Cat Stevens on ‘Catch
Bull At Four’, entertained the British troops in Germany, Cyprus
and Sardinia, performed annually in cabaret at Nairobi’s New Stanley
Grill, toured Australia in 1979 (and again in ‘83 and ‘86),
and presented a oneman show at London’s Boulevard Theatre (‘Back
In Town’) before taking the show to South Africa following the lifting
of the ban which had exiled him for a decade.
He settled outside Johannesburg on a bushveld farm from which he launched
a series of highly successful one-man shows around the capitals of South
In the mid-eighties he turned to straight acting for both theatre and
television, as well as for radio, and contributed articles to magazines.
Some of them were later to feature in his one-man show “Broederstroom
Diaries” which shone a light on country life in South Africa’s
slow lane and was the pick of the Grahamstown Festival in 1992. In the
same year he published a book of songs and reflections entitled simply
“Ag Pleez Deddy!”.
In 1994 he returned to Britain to lecture on South Africa and decided
to stay. As well as lecturing, he is also presenting a one-man kaleidoscope
of life in South Africa entitled “Transvaal Tinta”.
He has taken up pen once again in his cherished homeland and is currently
chronicling aspects of Britain - both strange and pleasant Jeremy lives
with his wife in Montgomeryshire.