Teenage Kicks Retrospective – Gregor Beith

Dear Susan,

Your article describes Rob McAskill as the Teenage Kicks’ ‘jester in chief’: this is simply not true. At this point in his career, the ‘Rascal’s’ humour was inhibited by his parents’ well-intentioned but narrow interpretation of Presbyterian doctrines. Contemporary listeners will confirm, I’m sure, that Rob’s contributions were restricted to po-faced chronicles of school fetes and fund raisers.

Gregor Beith was the team’s resident crackpot: an adolescent grotesque who modelled himself on the comedians who performed in his parents’ pub, stealing their jokes and even dressing in a manner he thought appropriate to a ‘funny man’: garish lounge suits complemented by ruffled shirts and bow ties.

His repertoire was similarly dated, replete with references to ‘dolly birds’ whose advances toward Gregor had to be resisted lest he incur the wrath of ‘the missus’ or, even worse, ‘the mother in law’.

Unfortunately, Gregor’s charm waned as he aged: I saw him perform in 1995, by which point he was eager to abandon the ‘wise guy’ act and introduce ‘the real me’. By the evening’s conclusion, the majority of the audience had slipped into the night – those of us who remained were traumatised by a grisly rendition of Phil Collins’ ‘Against All Odds’ (an ordeal that echoes in my dreams, usually as a presage of disappointment, sadness or disaster.)

Yours sincerely,

George Kaspar

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