John ponders life, death and the excitement of his first Polo mint
John Shuttleworth's Last Will and Tasty Mint, Sheffield City Hall, Thursday, March 30.
When you’ve created a comic character who is as popular as John Shuttleworth, it’s really hard to retire him, as Graham Fellows has found.
Graham said: “This is the show that was meant to be the last one and it is billed as my farewell tour. It’s called My Last Will and Tasty Mint.
“I Googled that line and thought it’s got to have been used but it hasn’t and it’s lovely.
“I really do want to concentrate on other things after this tour which will be a natural break.”
As a special treat, Jilted John will be appearing in the Sheffield show, which is the last date of the tour.
Graham said: “In 2018 I’ll be doing a Jilted John national tour to celebrate 40 years since the hit, Gordon is a Moron.
“I’m sure Sheffield will be included in that.
“It will be really nice to end the tour in my biggest venue in my home town with a guest appearance by Jilted John.
“Me and my bande do a half-hour set in the first half.
“I hope people will come and enjoy it and still want to see John (Shuttleworth) in the second half.”
Graham added: “For years I’ve been doing John Shuttleworth ageing up.
“With Jilted John I’ll be singing songs I wrote when I was 18 or 19. It’s fun and doesn’t feel like pressure.
“People still like Jilted John, so there is a demand for it, so why not do it?”
But back to Mr Shuttleworth, who’s been pondering mortality lately following a health scare that turned out to be athlete’s foot.
Graham said: “I got the title and then the idea for the tour.
“He was going to talk about retirement and death but inevitably he’ll be talking about his favourite subject which is sweets and snacks.
“Friends text me and say, ‘Did you hear that the Toblerone has got bigger gaps?’ and I hadn’t heard but it’s music to my ears.
“John’s excited when they make bigger gaps but realises it’s a trick.”
John’s also been concerned for a long time about non-seasonal chocolate oranges and how the Topic used to have a hazelnut in every bite but no longer. He’s also a big Ruffle bar fan.
John’s love of precision and measurement was inspired by Graham’s dad, who he said worked in a hardware store. He moved as a boy moved up from Croydon to Sheffield during the Blitz.
Graham said: “He didn’t have a very happy time of it. He used to have the Mickey taken out of his accent by the kids.
“He stayed in Sheffield all of his life and lived in Broomhill. He grew up in Nether Edge and moved to Broomhill.
He met my mum in Thurcroft.
“I was a paper boy in Broomhill. One of my Jilted John songs was a paper boy song.
“I did a John Otway convention and I got guys afterwards saying, ‘It was lovely to be reminded of my paper round. Ooh, the detail!’
“My bag would be bursting with all these Morning Telegraphs.”
But back to Mr Shuttleworth…
John’s been appearing on Radio Four in a show called John Shuttleworth’s Lounge Music, which follows The Archers on Radio Four. He invites stars to sing at his home. Graham said that in one episode John gets into an argument with Clare Grogan that made it into the show because it was funny.
For this tour, “he’s got a few new songs. It’s a struggle sometimes to come up with new ones. People call out for Two Margarines and Y Reg and everything.
“The new ones include My First Polo. I remember sucking my first Polo mint as a kid. My mouth was on fire.
“It’s like when you’re a kid and never had a curry or spicy food and it seems very exciting.”
Another new song celebrates the A1111, a road in Lincolnshire, which was clearly tailor made for John.
Let’s hope it’s not the end of the road for him just yet, though.