SINGLE: Four Sides and a Pointed Top – Ed Geater featuring VITAL 27.09.19

Words by Ed King / Pics courtesy of Bona Fide Mangement

I’ll be honest, when I read ‘a hip-hop infused pop jam’ on the promo copy for Ed Geater’s latest single… my heart sank. It’s the first track of his new EP, IN, coming out on 1st November, and something about this six word description just didn’t sit right.

But why? Geater has embraced hip hop across his portfolio, whilst VITAL (the MC who appears with Geater on ‘Four Sides and a Pointed Top’) is an artist that will always grab my attention. And despite Geater’s six string melodies that have tugged at my heart so beautifully before, the man is an awesome beatboxer – as well as a seasoned champion of Birmingham’s roots and rhyme scene. If anything, I should be excited about the words ‘hip hop infused’ and complicit about it being a ‘pop jam’ (I have learned through heartbreak, long car journeys, endless decorating, and significant amounts of whiskey on my own that even I can find some pleasure in some ‘pop’). No, I can live with all of that. So, again, why the rock in my stomach…?

The truth is, right now, I’m a little scared of change. I’m tired, and in the hushed words of half of the Game of Thrones cast… winter is coming. My cultural and emtional shutters have come down and I want obvious familiarity, I want comfort. I want red wine in musical form. I don’t want to think, feel or challenge myself in any way. I want Ed Geater to do what Ed Geater has done for me before so I can lazily roll over and demand my brain cell absent belly rub. And OK, perhaps I had some issues at the term ‘pop jam’.

‘Four Sides and a Pointed Top’ starts with a short, echoed, guitar riff – quietly clinging to the background. Then an orchestrated cacophony slides into the spotlight, with Geater’s trademark acoustic splendour and broken beat backbone making the fire brighter and the hearth all the warmer for it. To continue the metaphor. But the real power and beauty comes at 16secs in, when Geater’s vocals strut confidently across the track – with a timbre comparatively unrecognised but sounding gloriously mature. I honestly had to double check it was him. It is. And it’s good, from growling deep to falsetto… it’s so, so good.

The music, melody and production then lead the charge. We are treated to a second verse, a second chorus. And just past the two minute mark VITAL steps in with a brief but quietly ferocious verse, delivered with the confidence of man in full control of his lyrics and voice. Tempered, beautifully tempered; it sits as the perfect jewel in this collaborative crown and a direct reminder of the vulnerability that even the strongest of us can suffer. It is also the beginning of the end, as all aspects are embraced for the final run and we are softly reminded that Geater has, in fact, been beatboxing throughout.

‘Four Sides and a Pointed Top’ is one of Ed Geater’s most accomplished tracks; it’s near perfect. The only real downside is that I’d like it to be longer, not as the uber-radio friendly 3min 21secs song that is has been gifted to us as. I’d also like to hear more from VITAL (their voices blend wonderfully) and the subject matter could be a little more prominent for a narrative junkie such as myself.

Plus, my future self is now wondering how it will sit alongside the other two tracks when Geater‘s IN EP is released at the beginning of November. But that’s the strategist in me. Right now, I’m just happy. I’m lying on the sofa with the following YouTube link on repeat. I’m warm; I’m content. And there’s not a trace of stone in my chest.

‘Four Sides and a Pointed Top – Ed Geater, featuring VITAL

Ed Geater releases his latest single, ‘Four Sides and a Pointed Top’, on 27th September – out via Bronx Records. Ed Geater will be releasing his new EP, IN, on Friday 1st November. For more on Ed Geater, visit

For more on VITAL, visit


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BREVIEW: Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre 26.09.17

Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre 26.09.17

Words by  Helen Knott

What does it mean to be a cult figure? Is it simply someone who is popular with a loyal, but limited, group of people, or does it have connotations of an almost unhealthy devotion?

Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams feels like the work of a fan, someone with a real reverence for Kenneth Williams. Painstakingly pieced together from diary entries, personal letters and radio performances, writer and performer Colin Elmer successfully captures the spirit of Williams’ singular persona. The piece is funny, fast-paced and enjoyable. This is particularly true in a first half that focuses on Williams’ early life as a child living above his father’s hairdressers and his stint in the forces during World War II.

The stories about Williams’ war years provided real insights into the life of a soldier and the work of the Combined Forces Entertainment, the group that travelled around, providing entertainment for the troops. Indeed, Williams lived through a fascinating era of history, and I would have enjoyed more exploration of the context that he was living and working in. Issues such as the illegality of homosexuality for much of Williams’ life undoubtedly impacted him and his work, but were barely touched upon.

Elmer instead focused on performing numerous extracts from Williams’ radio career, using skits from Hancock’s Half Hour, Round the Horne and Just a Minute to trace his evolution from a bit part actor, to an innovative comedian, to a TV and radio personality. This generally worked well and allowed Elmer’s real strength – that is, his well-observed impersonation of Williams – to take centre stage. Elmer’s voice, subtle mannerisms and easy charm resulted in a number audience members commenting in the interval: “I think it’s really him!”

Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre 26.09.17The second half of the show was largely structured in a chat show format, with Elmer feeding audience members pre-prepared questions. This felt a little forced; just a device to allow Elmer to cover some big moments in Williams’ life, including celebrity-themed anecdotes and oddly, the Carry On films (which were rather rushed over, considering that they’re probably Williams’ best known work).

It didn’t help that Elmer was occasionally tripping over his very detailed, very precise script. This section may have worked better if it actually gave The Old Joint Stock audience the opportunity to ask their own questions. They were clearly a knowledgeable bunch and it would have freshened things up to see Elmer thinking on his feet.

Ultimately, the show felt rather one-dimensional. There was no sense of the darkness that haunted Williams, eventually leading him to die from an overdose. Williams’ mother, who he had a close relationship with throughout his life (she even lived next door), was strangely absent. Big and complex questions about Williams’ private life and professional legacy were untouched.

Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams clearly didn’t have ambitions above providing a nostalgic and fun reproduction of the best bits of Williams’ career for the comedian’s devoted following. It certainly succeeded in this: the production comes from a place of great affection and is beautifully performed, but it’s not going to win the cult figure Kenneth Williams any new fans.

For more on Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams, visit

For more from Old Joint Stock Theatre, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit

BPREVIEW: Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, 26-27.09.17

BPREVIEW: Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, 26-27.09.17

Words by Helen Knott

Running for two nights at The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams comes to Birmingham  from 26th to 27th September. 

Doors open at 7:30pm on both nights, with tickets priced at £12. For direct event info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

If someone mentions Kenneth Williams your first thoughts are most likely: Carry On films, double entendres, camp mannerisms. But that is only one side of Williams. He was also subversive, complex, and for his time, at least, cutting-edge.

Take Round The Horne, a popular BBC radio comedy. It attracted weekly audiences of 15 million listeners in the sixties and Williams was part of its regular line-up. Back then being gay was still illegal, so much of the show’s innuendo involved Williams’ use of Polari – the slang that gay men used to communicate. The BBC censors seemingly didn’t understand it and consequently quite outrageous stuff, even by today’s standards, got broadcast into millions of people’s living rooms.

Though popular and fondly regarded during his lifetime, Williams’ posthumously published diaries suggest that off air he was troubled.BPREVIEW: Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, 26-27.09.17 According to his memoirs, Williams suffered from depression and found it hard to come to terms with his homosexuality. He eventually died in 1988 of a drug overdose.

So, Williams lived a rich and varied life, leaving plenty to explore in Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams. Colin Elmer, who has appeared as Williams before in a production celebrating the 50th anniversary of Round the Horne, wrote and performs the one man show – once again with Tim Astley directing.

We are told Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams tells Williams’ story in his own words, and judging by some of his diary extracts this is a good shout: ‘Had Sid, Hattie, Joan, Barbara, Bernard and Charlie around for dinner. They were all perfectly awful except for Barbara whom I love more than anything else in the world, and even she is a stupid cunt’.

Colin Elmer has been a fan of Williams since he was a boy, so I’m expecting Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams to be more of a thoughtful and nuanced representation of an enigmatic entertainer, rather than a catchphrase-laden caricature. But it will be interesting to see if Elmer manages to bring anything new to our appreciation of Williams, or if it will simply be a nostalgic look back at one of British comedy’s greats.

Watch an interview with Colin Elmer where he discusses Kenneth Williams, as part of the promotion for the previous 50th anniversary of Round the Horne production:

For more on Cult Figure: Kenneth Williams, visit

For more from The Old Joint Stock Theatre, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit