Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery….
Or is it? It certainly wasn’t in the days when “Spitting Image” attracted huge audiences on Sunday nights, eager to see which politicians, pop stars and actors would be lampooned.
The puppet creators Peter Fluck and Roger Law would study an individual’s facial characteristics and then comically exaggerate their more noticeable features, such as Mrs. Thatcher’s sharp nose, Prince Charles’ ears and John Major’s enormous philtrum.
Before you start wondering if that’s what made him so attractive to Edwina Currie, the philtrum is the ‘dent’ between your nose and your mouth. And the then-Prime Minister’s was – and still is – larger than most.
The more grotesque the rubber caricatures became, the more we laughed. Not just at the puppets but at brilliantly topical lines spoken by the cream of British comedy impressionists.
But like all the best TV shows, it came to an end and around the same time, another ‘imitative’ phenomenon started to creep into the public arena….as well as theatres, leisure centres, social clubs and pubs.
Yes, I am talking about the Tribute Act.
I’d guess that the first one was an Elvis tribute, followed closely by the Abba tribute act, “Bjorn Again” who are still around today.
Actually, that’s quite a funny image. Elvis followed closely by Abba. “Go away Benny. I’m not giving you back your white, sequinned jumpsuit!”
If you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll let you into a secret. There’s more than one “Bjorn Again”.
There are multiple four-piece bands going out under that name, touring the world, entertaining audiences and pretending to be Bjorn, Benny, Agnetha and the other one. I bet they earn a decent living and that their shows are spectacular.
But would you want a job that involves pretending to be a member of a band that broke up 33 years ago, dressed in a blonde wig, high heels and hot pants?
And that same question is also aimed at you ladies.
The appeal of tribute acts is that it gives people a chance to see musicians recreating the look and sound of artistes who they’d never normally get to see, either because the originals only appear in massive arenas which makes the ticket price prohibitive…or they’re dead.
Oops! Bit of a downer there. Sorry!
Personally I’m not a fan of tribute acts or those bands who tour under the name of a famous, million-selling 1960s or 70s pop group, but who are obviously not the original members because they look far too young .
In fact, the last time I paid to see one of those acts, the only face I recognised was the bloke playing the drums. It was my postman!