Clifford Richbone - "the Peter Pants of pop music" - is 80 this year and still "partying like it's 2020"*. Not content to have reached an age when most of his contemporary pop idols are either dead and buried or not quite dead but still pretty much buried anyway - he is embarking on the most exhausting project he has considered for more than a decade: The Great 80 Tour. Aware that "touring the halls for real" is no longer an option [few venues can afford the accessibility modifications now required to allow the singer to enter buildings and mount the stage], his management team have devised "the next best thing" - a one time only concert at the Royal Edna Hall, Creekmoor beamed "live" to cinemas across the region. "It's a question of the mountain - or at least the hillock - coming to Mohammed", a spokesperson said, before quickly checking whether or not such a statement constituted an Islamic hate crime. "Or should I say, Calvary coming to Jesus? Which would be a bit more appropriate given Clifford's well-publicised theological leanings".
* The year of the Great Lockdown when partying was something of a stripped-down affair [Ed]
Billed as "the concert of the century for all the family", but "particularly suitable for the over-70s" promoters are warning potential ticket-purchasers that Clifford intends to sing all his greatest hits but may not have the stamina [or enough oxygen tanks] to get past the first three. His longtime backing group A Shadow of Their Former Selves, though much changed in personnel, will be led by long-time guitarist and some-time vocalist Heinkel Merlin who, accompanied by his carers, will be flying in from Australia especially for the concert.
Lifelong fans and Clifford Richbone Official Fan Club founders Sid and Elsie Tonedef are, like several others, greatly looking forward to the concert. "If we're honest, he's been a bit hit and miss over the last few years", they confessed, "but on his night he's still capable of knocking out a big one and on those breathy over-dubbed tracks like "Miss you, lites"**, if anything, his emphysema rather enhances the overall effect". Sid and Elsie are hoping to see the concert in their local picture house [The Gaumont, Burton Bradstock], but fear that the threat of re-imposed CONTRIK-69 enforcement measures may frustrate their plans. A spokesperson for the RDC - Special Constable Penham An'Beatem - said that the crack force was "ruling nothing out", including invoking both anti-terrorism and public order maintenance powers. "They may, generally speaking, be geriatrics, but as everyone knows, as they all age, crowds can get ugly".
** Thought to be a reference to the singer's well-publicised decision to discontinue experimentation with tobacco-based stimulants.