|Edward Barton / A Guy Called Gerald, Boardwalk, Manchester, England
12th November 1988
EDWARD BARTON/A GUY CALLED GERALD
"IT IS freezing in most of my songs, and most of them are naked," says Owen, alias Edward, settling into an eight foot wooden throne assembled from railway sleepers and lit by six candles.
The flames waver, as lonely, bleak and schizophrenic as this bearded prophet, who passes time collecting wood for the cockroach incubator that Edward and the Manchester City Council call a flat. His alternative urban lifestyle includes weaning orphaned lambs in an environment of concrete walkways, squats and demolition notices.
But none of this can prepare you for the heart-sore rant of 'I've Got No Chickens (...But I've Got Five Wooden Chairs)', accompanied by a guitar pummelled with the back of a spoon. To sing 'Nob Gob', Edward wears a broken bough of ash tree across his shoulders, like a yoke: "A little pain always helps." He is a story teller, every song a fable.
Various friends join the performance: a pixie called Jane who sings and plays the scissors, an old jazz guitarist of interest only to people who collect fossils, and A Guy Called Gerald, who provides talent and technology, House mixes and human beat box to 'Slap Belly Slap', Edward's next single.
It is the climax to a varied but poorly attended night; a puerile obsessive's cabaret. With a beard as long and a voice as loud as anything in the Old Testament, Edward delivers laughs with the seriousness of Moses delivering a nation from slavery.
[Reviewer: Mike West]