Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer brought his unique brand of well-mannered modern music – or Chap-Hop, as he calls it – to last year’s Fringe, where he appeared at Ministry of Burlesque’sHigh Tease.
With impeccable dress sense and songs such as ‘Straight Out Of Surrey’ and ‘Hail The Chap’, his sartorial style and accomplished strumming and rhyming are a delight to watch and to listen to.
On a mission to introduce manners and the proper use of the Queen’s English to hip-hop, this dapper gentleman and his ‘banjolele’ are sure to entertain, elucidate and enlighten wherever they appear.
We had a most splendid opportunity to catch up with Mr B as he prepared himself for a return visit to the Fringe. So join us as we donned our finest striped blazer, filled our pipe and settled into a wing-backed chair next to possibly the most mannered man in music.
How in the devil did you come up with an idea like Chap-Hop?
It was something of a culmination of various things I had previously been doing.
I’ve always loved Hip-Hop and have rapped in numerous guises, I’ve been playing banjolele for a few years and once performed at Fatboy Slim’s birthday party at his house with my old band Rock Onic and Bob.
And I’ve always been something of a Chappist, so I just dragged all those aspects together.
Kicking and ruddy screaming.
I have seen you perform at shows where your fellow performers are – shall we say – colourful to say the least. How do you find rubbing shoulders with such people? Is at odds with your mission to bring manners to the masses at all?
I’m sure I have no idea to whom you may be referring!
That said I do remember sitting in a boiler room in Croydon chatting to a lovely chap in his mid 40s who was wearing a tutu and a hair net and applying some over the top make-up and thinking to myself ‘How the blazes did I get here?‘.
None of this is at odds with my mission of course because these people all have impeccable manners.
How do you find pipe-smoking in this age of the indoor ban? What else irks you about the modern way of life today?
Obviously I feel strongly that the smoking ban should be reined in a little so that pipe smokers be allowed to practice their art indoors unhindered.
The most depressing sight I saw recently was at the Liberal Club, where I discovered the ‘Smoking Room’ had ‘no smoking’ stickers on its door.
As far as life in the modern world goes, I’m all for slovenliness, but only if coupled with elegance. Sartorially this country has plummeted to depths from which I fear it may never recover.
That though, is why I am here.
I know you to have visited the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before. What are your favourite aspects of it; and of the city itself?
I was at the Fringe for a week last year. In a way it’s a little similar to how people refer to the 1960s – if you remember it, you weren’t really there.
I have rarely seen a city so obviously ‘alive’ as I have in Edinburgh during the Fringe. It is truly an organism!
Pardon my French.
You are appearing in an entertainment called Me! Me! Me! with Mr Desmond O’Connor and young Miss Sarah-Louise. I understand there may be little jocular rivalry between the three of you. Care to elucidate? Any amusing (or scandalous) tales you can share about your co-performers?
I couldn’t possibly say! They’re both dear, dear friends and I wouldn’t dream of dishing the old dirt.
That said I fear only one of us may leave Edinburgh alive.
Will you be treating audiences to any fine new material this year?
Possibly. At the moment we are seeing it as a ‘greatest hits’ show- our favourite original songs from the last couple of years, but never say never.
I have just penned a rather cheeky little number about goats.
How do you intend to relax between performances? Any other performers you are hoping to see whilst in Edinburgh?
I would imagine my means of relaxing will largely be sleep. As and when I can get it.
There’s so much I want to see, but I shall no doubt simply take on the role of flaneur and wander aimlessly about the place seeing what I can find.
What next for Mr.B after doling out your particular brand of mannered entertainment at the Fringe?
I shall retire to my summer home in Hove for a week or two, then plan the next stage of the Chap-Hop revolution!
Then probably play a couple of weddings and oh yes, on my way back from Edinburgh I shall be dropping into Birmingham to play at a Terry Pratchett Discworld convention.
It’s a funny old game as I believe they say!
Thank you, Mr B. Best of luck with your Edinburgh shows, old chap.