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Far From The Manning Crowd

Stuart Bailie | 19:47 UK time, Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Stuart Bailie.jpgOnly last week I was musing on this blog about Bernard Manning and his offensive routines about “thick Paddies”. I’ve only glanced at his obits in the tabloids, but in many cases he’s been excused as a man of his time, a loveable rogue, a blunt northerner and the last example of a true comedic era.

I still empathise with the cartoon - used on the sleeve of a That Petrol Emotion single - that shows Manning telling one of his mean gags. Behind him are the names of the Irish literary greats : Oscar Wilde, Brendan Behan, Sean O’Casey, James Joyce, Bernard Shaw. This list actually inspired a piece of music by Dexy’s Midnight Runners – ‘Dance Stance’ which basically repeated the roll call with increasing noise and pride.

In several cases, people have claimed that Bernard Manning was far superior to the alternative comedians who came afterwards, with their politics, their anti-professionalism and their obsession with “Thatch”. And so I was keen to read the response of Alexei Sayle in today’s Independent. Thankfully Alexei hasn’t gone the way of Loaded magazine, nor has he written a rotten rock opera based on the music of Queen. No, the fella is unforgiving: “Bernard Manning was just a half-way decent comic with a horrible act”.

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