If Ken Campbell didn't exist, urban myths would still arise about such a mysterious, charismatic, odd and enlightening figure. Where Furtive Nudist dealt with streaking, trepannation, Walthamstow Marshes and Charles Fort, his latest solo roller-coaster ride through the funhouse of the bizarre features transvestism, nasal sex ("cunninasus... coitus proboscidalis"), the islands of Vanuatu and Ken Dodd (one of whose gags is gobsmackingly translated into Pidgin) – to name, of course, but a few of the weird and wondrous topics that he scoots around like a toy balloon expelling its contents at top speed.
Campbell seems less assured this time out: there's some unfamiliarity with his new material, and the anecdotal ingredients are both more disparate and more exaggerated... culminating in a visitation from God (sort of). Nonetheless, he capers an intricate and frequently astonishing path through seemingly unconnected events with the skill of a Burmese temple dancer, and is seldom less than totally captivating. If you've ever nursed the hunch that God doesn't so much play dice with the cosmos as a particularly drunken game of Twister, an evening in Ken Campbell's company will fully, horrifically, hilariously bear out your most fevered suspicions. Go.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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