Rollins Spoken Word

Leicester University

May 25 2001

Managing to arrive a few minutes late, Rollins is already in full swing, talking about his attempts to recreate the crushing of his penis in a manner like he either read about or heard about. In a Starbucks (I guess it's a North American thang!) using the toilet seat. Apparently he failed where someone else managed to succeed. Guess those are the kinds of things though that you hope to look back on in your life and think "no, I wasn't a failure at that point in time".

It's an early start, we're in a part of the Student Union, chairs layed out so that there's probably a few hundred here (there's going to be a student ball starting as we leave - nice contrast). The chairs are horrific, after about the first 20 minutes, I'm fidgting all the time, trying to be comfortable, trying to find a way to stretch my legs. With no success. It's almost tempting to stand up to walk around, but the fear that if you do you'll be told to "SIT THE FUCK DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP" is dominant. If you've seen the man doing his spoken word, you'll know what I mean.

Fortunately the man has the gift of being able to entertain, to wax lyrical, and the 2 hours passes quickly with not too much discomfort on the part of the seats. Tails this time round include one of his visits to Australia, and the motivation of not being embarrassed by one of those bronzed Aussie lifeguards whilst swimming with the fishes ("the fish rejected me, the coral scared me and the turtle burned me, but I'm not being embarrassed by the lifeguard" being the general gist of things.) There's driving in LA, brought on by his experiences here it seems sometimes, where the latest Slayer album has remained in the CD changer for 25 months, so that at the lights, when people have failed his 5 seconds test, he can crank it up and basically scare the living daylights out of them. It's a tactic that can work, and can also work for yourself, having spent the best part of 18 months driving in each day to my factory job many moons ago - Reign in Blood as blasted. It lasted the time it took to get to work, and just sets you up nicely with the correct levels of vitriol to get you through another day in hell. At the same time he also rips into Metallica for their change in style (the orchestras and everything), without actually naming them. I guess there are some things it's better not to name - you can't be too careful. never know what they may do!

There's more visits to Bangkok, this time him visiting the zoo, when all the taxi driver pimps are trying to get him to visit the nearest school (sort of thing), despite his protestations. Preparations for his last few days ("we were playing in Spain with Iron Maiden and they're fans are so focussed on just them, anyone going on earlier is just getting in the way of more time they could've played" is the gist, before he launches into a (misguided in my opinion, cos the Maiden RULE. And don't you forget it ;-) ) attack on them and their reading of books. It's almost a Spinal Tap moment, along with the vocal impressions.

One criticism is that maybe just maybe he's dragging a few of the tales too long at the moment, and could pack even more stuff in. But when you consider the so obvious Bill Hicks style in his delivery (and hey, you can't get better than that in stand-up), and the cast iron fact that he's a better comedian and performer than most of those that pollute our airwaves, then you know that's a minor criticism. Once more, a gem of a performance.