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Grayson Perry wows the Blackpool audience with solo show

Yes, after I was wondering how Grayson would handle such a show, Grayson Perry wows the Blackpool audience with a solo show, not an exaggeration. Two instagram chums posted their approval too.

I have been a long term Grayson fan and absolutely loved his sweet Grayson’s Art Club show (come back soon, please; I need some value for the bloody TV licence). Would Grayson do some art on stage? He doesn’t throw his pots so I knew that wouldn’t happen. No, he basically ruminated through his personal philosophy, gave us some life back story, threw in a few anecdotes and conducted a mobile phone based social survey. It was absolutely enthralling and there wasn’t a word of dissent throughout, even when things got a bit controversial.

Grayson took to the Winter Gardens Opera House stage in a very fetching dress and full make up, with another outfit for the second half. People scanned in a QR code to take part in the pre announced questions, which over the evening’s course amounted to a rather interesting social survey; I wouldn’t mind having that database at the tour’s end. As the numbers came up, Grayson commented on variations between Blackpool and other places, particularly Brighton, another seaside resort but otherwise a very different place. With an auditorium full of a high proportion of Blackpool’s artists, the audience not unexpectedly considered itself to be creative. Overall the audience came out as pretty ‘normal’, particularly when compared to other places.

Following on from the show’s ‘normal people’ premise, Grayson spun off this theme for what amounted to a two hour monologue. During this time he covered: his early life and upbringing; becoming an artist; transvestism in his life; defining normality; the nature of creativity and originality; illness, ageing and mortality; making a TV programme with a bag of wee strapped to your leg; and the nature of belief. The regular survey questions punctuated and broke the show up nicely. Some slightly worrying things came out: the majority of Blackpool people think that there is no leader that can save us, even Grayson, and that environmentally we are royally f*****. A brief pause for thought there.

© Adam Scourfield

This all included an anecdote about realising that a fellow artist had copied his painting’s compositions from a book of photographs and also realising he was the only person in the UK who would pick that up – to be fair there are only so many compositions that work. They are still friends.

Then there was the excellent Pudsey bear exposé, yes Pudsey is evil and can be seen tattooed on various dodgy people, including Laurence Fox who seemed to be a particular bête noir, along with words that have X in them in general. This led somehow to Grayson’s childhood toy, teddy bear Alan Measles being declared a deity in place of all other supposed divine beings.

Grayson is just so nice and just respectful of, well most, people’s beliefs, but I couldn’t help detect a little sneer at the Church of England. This was part of a lengthy section on the nature of belief that included recognising atheism (the audience survey revealed that 27% of us were believers) as a ‘luxury’ belief, not so comfortable in Afghanistan or even America (cue Donald Trump picture with his fawning acolytes).

It is impossible to summarise what was a long and maybe rambling show, which Grayson’s amazingly well chosen graphics held together cleverly. I hope that this gives you a good impression of what was a uniquely lovely evening. Grayson seems to be tagged routinely as eccentric; well I would say he’s one of the most grounded people around.

Come back soon Grayson!

David attended Grayson Perry: A Show for Normal People at Blackpool Winter Gardens on Friday 15 October 2021.

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  • I have worked in the housing and transport professions for several local authorities, specialising in policy, strategy preparation and bid writing. Having always had an interest in film, the visual arts in general, theatre, music and lterature, I thought it would be good to combine the writing experience with these interests to contribute to altBlackpool. In addition to writing, my hobbies include watercolour and pastel painting, photography, woodwork, cycling and vegetable gardening.

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