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1950-1969

Born in Birmingham on 3rd August 1950. Schooled until just before 16th birthday. Leave knowing next-to-nothing except for a bit of English, a bit of French and why a large adult caning a small child's bottom is only fun for one of them. Have series of odd jobs (and odder) until, in 1967, see the play "THE BED SITTING ROOM", written by/starring, Spike Milligan. Inspirational. Make professional debut on Monday September 1st 1969 at free outdoor concert at Midlands Arts Centre, performing songs, poems and sketches in company of bands such as Tea & Symphony, Locomotive and Black Sabbath.

 

1969-1974

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Perform first of many solo shows at Birmingham Arts Lab (one of first, and longest, of burgeoning, quick-dying movement). Write more poems, songs and sketches. Perform wherever possible – folk clubs, universities, colleges, arts centres, music venues, etc. Constantly performing comedy to audiences who seek other form of entertainment. Act in debut of David Edgar’s Blood Sports directed by the author. Meet and collaborate with fringe theatre groups The General Will, John Bull Puncture Repair Kit, and Hull Truck. Make debut performance at 1972 Edinburgh Festival and then invited to Holland where lose virginity and gain sexual disease at the same time. Swipe me.      

 

1975-1980

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Form comedy/rock band Mr John Dowie & The Big Girl’s Blouse. Perform ear-splitting gigs in Britain and abroad, including noted pub-rock venues the Hope & Anchor, the Speakeasy, Dingwalls, Marquee, plus ICA & diminutive  Bush Theatre. See Sex Pistols and decide comedy-rock is now dead. Dissolve band. Release e.p. on Virgin Records, Another Close Shave, six tracks including British Tourist (I Hate The Dutch). Make T.V. debut on ATV’s Revolver, hosted by Peter Cook. Meet and perform short tour with aspiring comedienne Victoria Wood. Move to insignificant Northern town Bacup, famous for in-breeding and clog dancing (the former has the edge).  Meet Mancunian comedy/rock band Alberto y Los Trios Paranoias. Do three tours as "official support" (including final tour with opening act The Police and where are they now?). Release Acne, Idiot, Hitler’s Liver on Factory Record’s debut A Factory Sampler.

     

1980-1990

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Resume solo comedy career coincident with rise of so-called self-styled “alternative comedy”. How dull can it get? Gig and gig and gig and gig. Release It’s Hard to be an Egg – flop single (even die-hard Factory completists don’t want it) on Factory records produced by Martin Hannet. Release video Dowie on Ikon/Factory label, cover art by Ralph Steadman. Release live album, Good Grief, recorded one night in Zap Club, Brighton. Play title role in James Bond – The Panto at ICA and on tour with theatre group Cliffhanger. Release Hard to Swallow, “abandoned comedy routines” illustrated by Hunt Emerson, Knockabout Comics. Write and record radio series A World of Dowie. Perform in many t.v. and radio shows including two series of Now Something Else, with Rory Bremner, plus Dowie, a pilot for BBC2 featuring the late great legendary Max Wall. Swell with pride.

 

1990-2000.

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Direct Whale Nation & Falling for a Dolphin by poet/playwright/painter Heathcote Williams. Write & perform Take Them to the Garden (based on works of Philip K. Dick). Have two kids and cosmic revelation. Write and perform Why I Stopped Being a Stand-Up Comedian. Direct Neil Innes’ More Jam Tomorrow starring Neil & Andy Roberts. Write and star in Dogman! music by Neil Innes, directed by Victor Spinetti. Write and perform Poems to Read to Your Parents, another children’s show, dance by Lianne Campbell, songs by Ronnie Golden (aka Tony de Meur, founder member Fabulous Poodles. Dog motif continues). Write and perform Jesus My Boy, a solo play, later performed by Tom Conti, Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue – name in lights.      

2000-03

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Jesus My Boy translated and performed in Copenhagen, Switzerland, Germany and USA.   Co-write and direct Arthur Smith Sings  Leonard Cohen, Edinburgh, West End and BBC Radio4. Direct Neil Innes/Rutles extravaganza, QEH, South Bank. Direct Simon Munnery/League Against Tedium, Soho Theatre, West End and (with Andrew Bailey) in Noble Thoughts of a Noble Mind, Edinburgh Festival. Co-write and direct Barry Cryer (a career high) and Ronnie Golden in Rock of Ages, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh & BBC Radio 4. Collaborate with Neil Innes in Ego Warriors, at Canal Café Theatre, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and various venues. Co-write & direct Rock of Ages 2: Unplugged with aforesaid Cryer and Golden (the Oldie & The Goldie). Write various poems and give occasional readings – almost always to audiences who seek other form of entertainment. Ho hum.

 

2003-2005

Rewrite Dogman (Act One) as "epic poem for children", published by BBC Worldwide with illustrations by Delphine Thomas. Go to Tel Aviv to watch translated (in many senses of the word) Jesus – My Boy by Israeli comedian Gil Kopatch. A joy. Director Leisa Rae revives Dogman for Edinburgh festival, touring dates and London Riverside. Watch a brilliant cast give brilliant performances. Record DOGMAN CD with assistance of NEIL INNES (music and songs) and PHILL JUPTUS (narration). Released by Laughing Stock records, September 26, 2005. Decide that DOGMAN and JOSEPH aside, all show business aspirations have been met and pack it all in.

 

j.dowie@icloud.com © John Dowie 2013