Auntie Kay's Good Gig Guide
You need all the help you can get to find your way around the Edinburgh Fringe - but I never thought it would come from my dear old Auntie Kay. "Here," she said over Sunday lunch in suburban Surrey, thrusting a flyer in my face. "I think this chap is Gary Glitter's younger brother. You ought to see him."
Auntie had got her wires crossed. Philip Jeays is no relation of Mr Glitter, but he is a real find, just the sort of discovery you're always hoping to make in Edinburgh and rarely do. Looking like a young and less dissipated Keith Richards, he is a singer blessed with a strong and expressive voice who writes songs of sardonic wit and often wonderfully histrionic drama.
There are shades of Jacques Brel here, and also of David Bowie in his early, glorious prime. If Jeays was dismayed to be playing to an audience of fewer than 20 in a tatty room above the Cafe Royal (an oyster bar without any oysters when I lunched there earlier in the day), he didn't let it show.
Occasionally he could be tediously arch, recalling the Bowie of The Laughing Gnome rather than Aladdin Sane, but he performed some terrific love-gone-wrong songs, moving between sneery snarls and throbbing romanticism to potent effect. He is backed by a pianist and a guitarist, but what he needs is an efficient, driving band, which could turn his no-holds-barred songs into floridly over-the-top-pop.