Pam Ayres, the 1970s and shifting wardrobes

“Welcome to the canvas cathedral”


Just the most perfect description for the enormous marquee where the big shows will be taking place during the Sidmouth Folk Festival; our compere continued with his introduction,

“Ices will be available during the interval…” the audience (excluding me) erupted into laughter and all I can say is they have a pretty warped sense of humour. Seems the compere was similarly bemused for a few seconds until he twigged what ‘ices’ sounds like. So he rephrased it…”ice cream will be available…” to more laughter.


So it seemed the audience were well and truly primed for the main star of the show,

“I was last here in 2009 and since then I’ve had a knee operation” audience make sympathetic noises, “yes, I fell out of a ski lift…in Gloucester.”

The foundations were well and truly laid for an afternoon of laughter as the renowned and extremely funny Pam Ayres took the stage.


The last time I saw Pam was on the TV way back in the 70s and 80s alongside the likes of that other great talent Dave Allen; when comedy was hilarious without the need of swearing every third word or extreme sexual innuendo.

“I go into my office with my flatulent dog and throw open the windows”

Times change but I’m pleased to say Pam Ayres doesn’t and her comedic delivery was both fresh and funny with plenty of modern day dilemmas.

With a mixture of anecdotes, personal reflections and family memories, Pam chatted away to us in friendly camaraderie style inviting everyone to join her as she revisited places of old

“When I got married my mum gave me some advice – never let your husband know you can shift the wardrobe on your own”

and some of her latest trips

“The two BMW people ended up siting behind the horse that had evidently enjoyed a hearty breakfast that produced some paralysing methane…”

and jokes

“A horse walked into a bar and ordered a Prosecco, a glass of Chardonnay, a Bloody Mary (not too spicy) and a vodka. He drank each one then said to the bar tender ‘I shouldn’t be doing this with what I have’, why, what have you got? he asked. ‘Twenty five pence’ the horse replied.

The youngest of six, one sister and four brothers, Pam Ayres grew up in a council house in Stamford in the Vale and recalls her house was by no means scholarly and as for early poetic influences, there weren’t any; unless you include the Rupert the Bear annual they had (one of only three books she can recall owning) which she didn’t like because ‘everything was tormented by verse’.

There was however, an ash tray in the shape of a skull; you put the lit cigarette in the mouth and the smoke came out of a hole in the top and there was rhyme written on it

Poor old Fred smoked in bed

“That was my poetical influence!”

She recited some old favourites including ‘I wish I’d looked after me teeth’

So I lay on the dentist’s chair and gaze up his nose in despair

Then there was the trip she took to Newquay with her sister and family when she was persuaded to buy a wet suit and visited the surf shop where there was a young Australian girl working and when asked how you relieve yourself once you’ve got the suit on, the girl replied

“There are those who wee in them and those who lie”

With her unstoppable wit and insatiable desire to bring a smile to everyone’s face, I’m glad the 1970s are alive and well and just as an aside, it’s too late, it’s not just the wardrobe I’ve shifted, it’s the whole bedroom!

Pam signing2



About Sophia Moseley

Freelance Copywriter, Feature Writer and Author. Looking for that illusive job that every working mother craves but surviving, just, on what I can find. My writing and poetry keeps my sane. Watch this space.
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