KEN CAMPBELL

Passing a free half hour browsing for Ken Campbell books or DVDs this morning, I came across his obituary which I certainly didn’t expect.

Campbell was a great man of the 20th century – intelligent, creative and entertaining. Within the last ten years Quentin Crisp, Spalding Gray and now Campbell have died, and I turned to thinking, who are the great raconteurs now that these three masters have gone?

Stephen Fry, Alan Bennett, Gore Vidal, Jonathan Miller and Brian Sewell sprang to mind, and I’m sure Holly Johnson and Marianne Faithfull could do more than hold my attention for a couple of hours if she put her mind to it and once he had begun “living his third act”, as Campbell put it in his 2004 interview for Theatre Voice”.

But there was something about the quality, delivery and honesty of Crisp, Gray and Campbell’s material that set them apart from the above mentioned. Perhaps they were part of a dying breed? More likely a new generation has yet to find its feet, or voice.

I was fortunate enough to be in the audience for “An Evening With Quentin Crisp” at Sheffield City Hall around twenty years ago, but never saw Gray or Campbell in performance.

It may be a while before I have the opportunity to see their like in performance again.

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