Sunday, September 12, 2010

Selfish kunt

The best thing I saw at the Festival this year by a country mile (pun intended) was the none-more-radio-unfriendly Kunt and the Gang.

Who hell they? Well, for a start, it's actually a he, rather than a they. Like a Viz version of Ray Allen and Lord Charles, his gang consists entirely of a puppet (Little Kunt). Oh, and his mobile phone, which, plugged in to the PA of the pub he performed in, was his sole musical accompaniment. Emerson, Lake and Palmer used to travel across the country with their equipment in three separate articulated trucks. Now artists can fit their entire backing into their pocket. That's progress.

In visual terms, the stage show won't be giving Muse any sleepless nights, the budget stretching no further than some upturned beer crates. Kunt himself, though, is incredibly charismatic, two parts Green Gartside to three parts Ben Dover with a bit of Paul Simonon thrown in (his gold tooth apparently being something of a "babe-magnet", according to the man himself). There was earnest debate (between my friends at least) before the show started as to the distance between the character of "Kunt" and his creator. In other words, how much of an act is Kunt and the Gang? My wife was convinced that this was a university-trained actor playing a foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed troubadour, a sort of filthy Paul Calf/Steve Coogan. She even thought his carefully-coiffed blond locks were a wig. I'm pretty certain they're not, and that the distance between the creator and the character is extremely small. In other words, that this really is a guy from Essex who loves Countdown, masturbation and the minutiae of the female body. Which isn't to dismiss him, as we'll see.

If you zoom over to the man's MySpace page, you'll see among his influences The Macc Lads and the Silicon Teens. This is telling. Like the Silicon Teens (who were, for those of you that might not know, a nom de disque of Daniel Miller, boss of Mute Records), Kunt is from Basildon, and like the Teens and their labelmates Depeche Mode (in their early years, at least), his musical stock-in-trade is jaunty, seemingly-simple but naggingly-catchy synth melodies. Unlike his Mute forbears though, he eschews the boy-meets-girl lyrics of early synthpop, and presents something slightly more earthy for the listener's pleasure. And if you couldn't surmise the tone of his repertoire from his name, the songs' titles (including Chips or Tits, I'm Gonna Lick You Out and Feminine Itch- and these are three of the tamer titles) may just tip you off.

I'm not going to try and claim this is subversive art or that Kunt and the Gang is actually a cultural provocateur on a par with Bill Drummond or Malcolm McLaren. What he is, though, if you're not a po-faced bore, is a bloody good night out. Sure these're just smutty songs and banter, at heart. But there's a lyrical dexterity that separates Kunt's material from, say, the aforementioned Macc Lads; in fact it's closer to Nigel Blackwell of Half Man Half Biscuit than to other rude musicians. In Dee (The Oldest Groupie), for example, he succinctly points up the age and experience of the song's purported subject and shows off an admirable grasp of popular culture (as well as a terrific sense of metre) in just 12 short lines:

She showed me pictures of her threesomes/I couldn't believe my eyes/She'd been rogered by Rodgers & Hammerstein/And skied with Morecambe & Wise/She'd been spit-roasted by Chas & Dave/And felched by Blazin' Squad/She got a facial when the lead singer/From Showaddywaddy lost his wad/From Adam Ant to Zucchero/They'd all been up her snitch/She'd pulled a train on Dave Dee/Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch!
The other thing that saves him from charges of blatant misogyny and the sort of macho nonsense espoused by most R-rated comedians is his inclusive view of sexuality. The Macc Lads, for example, would never have entertained writing a song like I Sucked Off A Bloke or penned a verse about fantasising over a transsexual, as Kunt does in Wank Fantasy (both below).

All in all, a first-class night out. You want a sample? OK, you can download a track below.

Download Dee (The Oldest Groupie) mp3 by Kunt & the Gang (deleted Jan 2011)

No comments: