Tribute acts: Are there too many playing Portsmouth? | Simon Carter

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Surely we can’t have too much of a good thing? But when it comes to musical entertainment in Portsmouth and surrounding areas, I’m happy to ask the question: Are we at saturation point?

A recent visit to the Guildhall left me wondering if there are just too many tribute acts and shows these days.

I went to see All You Need Is Love, featuring four musicians and the National Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (NPCO) playing the music of… well, you don’t need me to tell you, we’re not living our lives in the film Yesterday are we? 

It was a great evening, but sadly only a few hundred people saw it, all crowded into the first few rows of the stalls seats. Was that a surprise? After all, Let It Be – a spin-off from the Beatles-themed West End musical – ran for a week at Kings Theatre, Southsea, in April, and the Bootleg Beatles tribute act were there a month later. People haven’t got bottomless pockets to keep on paying to watch essentially the same show. 

Here’s another example. The George Michael Fastlove show visited the Kings twice in 13 months, while it is coming to the Guildhall in Southampton on November 15. A week earlier, at the Central Hall, Southampton, another George Michael tribute act is playing. The George Michael-based Faith show was due to visit the Pyramids in May, but was cancelled, and another GM tour – featuring Rob Lamberti and the NPCO – is touring in 2020. Do we need that many George Michael tribute acts? I could go on. Ok, I will.

The Illegal Eagles visited the Kings in May (tickets £27.50) and the Ultimate Eagles are at the Guildhall soon (tickets £29.25). Can Portsmouth support two such acts in the space of half a year? Does Portsmouth NEED two such acts? 

For local prog rock fans, next month’s calendar should have two dates ringed – Marillion’s visit to the Guildhall (with orchestra) on November 7 and ex-Genesis man Steve Hackett appearing at the same venue six days later. 

If you and AN Other wanted to attend both gigs, you’re looking at the best part of £200 including a few pints to lubricate your throat beforehand. That’s a lot of money for two evenings out inside a week.

Fancy being a prison officer? All yours for just £26,000…

Did you watch the ITV series about life inside UK prisons?

If so, fancy a prison officer’s job at HMP Lewes in Sussex that’s advertised on Indeed? The starting wage is £26,529 a year. I mis-typed that salary to start with as ‘startling’ salary, but the only thing eye-popping about that figure is the fact it’s pretty low. 

Very low, to be honest, considering you’ll be asked to be a ‘role model, negotiator, referee, educator, influencer and life changer’ – and there’s a high chance of being assaulted by the inmates. 

‘It can be a tough job, but in return you will receive great pay,’ the advert claims. 

The beginning of that sentence is undoubtedly truer than the ending.

This winter why not slip a bovine beast in your pocket?

It is undoubtedly a wise phrase, and here it is in Turkish – ‘Zemheride yogurt isteyen, cebinde bir inek taşır’.

Its English equivalent is the philosophical ‘Those that want yoghurt in winter, must carry a cow in their pockets.’ 

Here’s another handy phrase to impress your friends with, this time in Spanish – ‘Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona queda’. Its English translation is ‘A monkey dressed in silk is still a monkey.’ 

Thanks to the people at Top Language Jobs, ‘the online language recruitment specialists’, for winning this week’s ‘most nonsense press release sent to my inbox’ prize. 

Believe me, it’s an honour worth having…