This Sunday, the remarkable DE Experience is back at her spiritual home at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern for Sunday Social. We all know that Edna is sidesplittingly funny but a vital part of her shows are the songs she leads the RVT choir in singing. Dave Cross asked Jonathan Hellyer, the man behind the snarl, to talk about some of his, and our, favourite songs in Edna’s repertoire.
Video Killed the Radio Star – originally by The Buggles
I was inspired to pop this into the set some years ago by Andy Wetson who kept playing an epic remix of this after my shows. Could there be a better use of a megaphone other than clearing the bushes after Brighton Pride (of sleeping revellers, of course)?
Running Up That Hill – originally by Kate Bush
Singing Kate Bush is akin to snogging on the night bus. You know everyone wants to join in and they’re all jealous that you had the nuts to do it. I use the instrumental B-side of the 12 inch vinyl and if you listen carefully, when the song starts in the show, there are scratches on it. Now THAT is some seriously trad shit!
What About Us – originally by Pink
Pink’s iconoclastic ‘Trump tribute’. It speaks to me anew each time I sing it and it clearly speaks to the crowd EVERY TIME. Protest songs can so often be twee and a tad fey. Not this one. This has spunk! Can we say that word?
Bohemian Rhapsody – originally by Queen
Sweet Freddie! I miss him sooo much. This anthem is so adaptable and I’ve often sung ‘Mama…just kissed a man’. I watched Freddie at Live Aid and I still think how cool clones are. And if you’re under 35…look it up!
Dancing On My Own – originally by Robyn
Robyn, you androgynous babe, you! No idea why but this often finds itself between I Wanna Dance With Somebody and Last Dance. Weird, huh? Like it’s some kind of life story I’m telling on stage. Who knew? I just winked.
Top of the World – originally by The Carpenters
Ahhh Karen. I promised myself I’d sing this when I was a boy listening to the radio. Dream come true. Nuff said.
Your favourite ABBA song/s
‘…I saw myself as a concealed attraction. I felt you kept me away… from the heat and the action…’ That is my love life in a single sentence, it’s from One Of Us. Oh and there’s also the best use (maybe the only use ever in a song) of the word IN-COM-PRE-HENSIBLE in Lay All Your Love On Me.
Say Hello, Wave Goodbye – originally by Soft Cell
When I hear Marc Almond’s delicious tenor soaring through this epic love ballad, I feel just about as gay as it gets – and SO PROUD. My partner in cabaret crime, Simon Le Vans, and I share a cabaret climax to this each time I sing it. It’s kitchen sink meets kitsch and it’s electro-pop. That, I think you’ll find, is an aural orgy waiting to happen. ‘We’re strangers meeting… for the first time… OK?’ Pure unadulterated adulterous adult adulation!