A Personal Introduction from Rohan Kriwaczek.
I only met the Rev. Rohan K. on three occasions, but to say that they were memorable would be something of an understatement. The first encounter took place in a dark and smoke-filled room underneath the suitably named Bucket of Blood, a popular London bar and music venue. It was November 23rd 2002, and the Reverend was due to open an evening billed as Burlesque. Someone had obviously thought it amusing to put a Reverend on the same stage as a troupe of strippers, and equally obviously had no idea quite what nature of performance they had hired. The show was due to start at eight o’clock, but at nine the small audience was still waiting, and becoming quite noticeably impatient. I was there with a friend who had seen the Reverend perform before and so we were both quite disappointed when the compere announced his non-arrival, and the show opened instead with a group of very amateur “dancers” who, within seconds were wearing nothing other than nipple tassels. We were about to leave when a sudden commotion broke out at the bottom of the stairs, and then a small, rather ugly man in a bowler hat and shabby grey coat barged his way onto the stage, shoved the dancers aside, grabbed the microphone and began to shout expletives at the audience. I assumed it was a drunken punter and turned to go, but my friend grabbed my sleeve and told me to sit down, for, apparently, this was the Reverend. Once I had got over my surprise and began to listen I realised the expletives were merely the opening salvo of what developed into the most extraordinary “rant” I have ever heard, periodically accompanied by loud rhythmic stamping, excessive gesticulations (at times involving a mop), and the most bizarre and disturbing of facial contortions. His style of delivery veered between that of a great theatrical orator and a staggering drunk singing to himself in the gutter, all in strict metre and rhyme, and with an accent so rich in English pomposity that it had to be fake. I found him quite mesmerising.
The performance lasted for over an hour, with barely a pause for breath, and when he finally took a bow my friend and I were the only people left in the room; even the barman had disappeared. Naturally we invited him to join us for a drink, having much of a bottle of wine left at our table, and he obliged, picking up the bottle, downing the contents in one, and then wandered behind the bar and helped himself to a half pint of brandy. Six hours and three drinking establishments later we finally parted company. As I headed home I remember thinking that he was the most arrogant, bitter and deliberately offensive man I had ever encountered, and yet there was something quite compelling about him, almost charming, and he certainly told a good tale. Sadly though, due to the effects of excessive alcohol, I can remember very little of what he actually said that night, though I do recall he was greatly amused by the similarity between our names...
- Polite Notice
- Just Because...
- Everybody's Happy to be Dead
- The Undertaker's Ball
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