Send in the clowns, not the gunboats

DJ Fatboy Slim talks about how this year’s pandemic has affected the entertainment industry

As the capital and other parts of the UK were once again plunged into more stricter Covid-19 restrictions, pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and other entertainment venues closed their doors for the third time this year…

Despite spending tens of thousands of pounds on making their venues Covid-secure so their customers and guests would feel safe while being able to enjoy a night out, for many, going into Tier 3 sounded the death knell for their business.

One person who is critical of how the situation has been handled is world-famous DJ Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim. 

Speaking to podcast CELEBS and the Average Joe with Phil Reynolds, he said the Government has mishandled the Covid-19 situation from the PPE shambles to not locking the UK down earlier.

But he was especially critical of how the arts and entertainment industry, especially live music, has been dealt with.

He said: “We’re not dispensable. Arts and culture, although they might, on paper, not be our biggest export, culturally and economically, it’s a huge part of our country.

“So many people I know in the business who do lighting, tour management or whatever, they’re all self employed and now living hand to mouth.”

He said he, as an established artist is fortunate enough, and well known enough, to be able to sit back and ride this year out. But it’s those behind the scenes he feels sorry for.

‘You look at how many festivals there are around this country every summer, every single one of them has got to have transport logistics, from the toilets to barriers and stages and lights and all that side of it. Those people really are forgotten. They can’t do live streams and they have to sit there and tighten their belts.

“The whole thing’s been a shitshow. It’s an impossible job badly done. The amount of foreign income British pop music and club music generates must piss all over our fishing industry and yet they’ll send gunboats out to save that.

“The only thing you can hope is that when it all comes back, the public’s appetite will be such that we’ll all have a field day and everyone will be dancing in the streets. For months, if not decades.”

TV producer Reynolds developed a podcast called The Lockdown with Phil Reynolds during the first UK lockdown and in six months, it went international, streaming in over 30 countries, and welcomed guests such as actor Jamie Dornan, Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, DJ Paul Van Dyk and boxer Carl Frampton.

He was then approached by production company Nineteen 11 (The Posh Frock Shop, Swingers) and together they created a brand new series and fortnightly podcast called CELEBS and the Average Joe.

The full interview with Fatboy Slim will be available for download from December 23rd from iTunes and Spotify.

Photo: Copyright of Nineteen11 & Phil Reynolds

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Georgina Littlejohn

Georgina Littlejohn is a journalist with more than 25 years of experience specialising in general and London news, entertainment and music. She cut her teeth in TV writing for news, sport and showbiz programmes before moving into print, starting at Associated Newspapers where she worked across the board from the Metro to the Standard to the London Lite before ending at MailOnline, where she was one of the senior showbiz reporters. After going freelance and working stints at the Mirror, the Sun, Music Week and Closer magazine, she took a career break in 2014 to work for theatre impresario Bill Kenwright as his Head of Communications. After a year as Senior Homepage Editor for MSN, she is now back freelancing and currently working for the i newspaper and its award-winning website. Georgina also volunteers as a kennel assistant for the Mayhew and as a befriender for Age UK.

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