Another year, another wedding – this time it was Shameless Shabbacko and Pamito at Puckpool Park on the Isle of Wight. Uncle Tacko conducted the ceremony in his capacity of Reverend and as usual, The Rotters performed.
We played Goole park and Barrow in Furness once again, but bookings for the season had reduced considerably. This was due to several factors – our availability had dwindled due to outside commitments, the camaraderie had dwindled as the dep structure diluted the sense of ensemble and the cultural economy moved increasingly towards either large-scale acts that would impact thousands at a time, or cheaper small acts like Poppets Puppets, rather than a 5-piece acoustic act like The Pierrotters. Also, I suppose it was inevitable that tensions would emerge within the group, as what had been a gang of young, excited and energetic young men, with a passion for encounters with the world and performance in general, had started to become somewhat middle-aged, with primary concerns for family, mortgage and a need for security.
Nevertheless, we had a memorable weekend performing on Blackpool North Pier as a highlight of their ‘Showzam’ festival, in an event called ‘End of the Pier’. It was a delight to perform on the sun deck, where so many previous troupes had plied their trade. It was an ideal location, with a low, wide stage which allowed us to place our chairs in the familiar minstrels’ semi-circle and hang the Pierrotter banner from the Bexhill Happy Hour show behind us, as well as easy access down into the audience. The glass sides gave it great acoustics and when it rained, just as would have occurred on countless occasions over the years, the audience huddled under the glass canopies at the sides, rather than in the al fresco centre of the space where the deck chairs were set. We were seen by several elderly pierrot and concert party members, who recalled their past performances and specifically commented on how we had captured the essence and spirit of those past acts: it felt as if we had at last connected with that past and continued the spirit of the seaside pierrot troupes in form, content and style… we had merged with the tradition and had carried the torch forwards into the 21st century.