THAT LEEDS MAG caught up with Silky before he set off to Wales for one of the last few gigs he had booked on 1st December 2020. It was the first chat we have ever had and we found out quite a bit about each other.
Silky moved to Chapel Allerton in 2007 from York, but has lived all over England. We talked about his lockdown experience and discussed a woodpecker on his bird table.
Find out more about Paul ‘Silky’ White here: www.silkythecomedian.com
I hope you enjoyed watching. Below is the abridged article from THAT LEEDS MAG.
Deby: Before the first lockdown, what was a normal week for Silky like?
Silky: Probably hectic. I could be anywhere. Literally anywhere. I was normally travelling quite a bit and writing on the hoof, organising gigs elsewhere and not really getting a lot of quality time with myself or with my partner. So lockdown has been good for that. The same wind blows on us all. But what matters is the set of your sail and realising how much I spent on accommodation and travel meant that when the circuit dried up, the first thing I thought was, “well, I can save money on not having to spend a hundred quid on diesel a night, hotels or B&Bs and meals away. I also get to spend more time with my girlfriend”. It’s been horrible, for her. I mean she started pulling her hair out at one point.
Deby: Did you manage to get anything done?
Silky: Yeah. Not just comedy writing, just kind of thinking about stuff. Actually having time to stop and think. It’s an interesting thing to think that the comedy circuit might never come back. If your market evaporates what do you do next? Do you die or do you try something different, I’ve been teaching a comedy course for seven years so I moved that online. I made sure that it was a good product, that it was effective and fun. The dates for next year’s courses are going on sale now. I’m quite pleased because it means that the pressure is off me to compete with other people for a finite amount of work where you have to be there in person. As well as the courses I have a USB for sale which I recorded in Leeds a few years ago, it’s an hour long live show. Plus, there’s an album worth of songs on there.
Deby: Was the USB stick something you did just at the beginning of lockdown?
Silky: No I had it. I had it in the bag a little while earlier. It just so happened that it was well timed. So all of it’s by accident rather than design. I think I’m the luckiest man alive. It’s worked out all right – it’s kind of the mindset I have where I looked at the positive.
Deby: With the constant changing into tier two, tier three, lockdown it’s like as soon as you plan something you have to unplan it. I bet it makes you want to scream. At this point Paul turned his monitor around and showed me a gorgeous woodpecker on his bird table. There was a rather comical discussion about Flappy Steve the bullfinch and Fat Eric the magpie.
Silky: One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a pie, four for a pretty sturdy casserole.
Deby: Fat Eric, he’s massive so you could probably make a casserole just out of him.
Deby: When we came out of lockdown and went to tier two for a while you managed to get some gigs in then. How was that?
Silky: It was really good. People were hungry for the entertainment. We were all giddy to be back on stage. I did some gigs at Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton and I did some gigs around Yorkshire and then some stuff further afield. I actually went down to Essex and did the 10th anniversary of The Comedy Festival, at Stow Maries, at the Prince of Wales for Paddy Lennox. That was really good fun I was on with Simon Brodkin, Lee Nelson is his famous character. I then did a gig in Tring for Ben Moorhouse at the Pendley Court Theatre with Ed Byrne and Shappi Khorsandi, and that was lovely fun.
Deby: How did it work for the audience at the gigs?
Silky: Some of them were outdoor gigs, where people were kind of bubbling together. Some of them were indoor gigs. And it was because the guidelines have changed and ebbed and flowed over the past nine months, some of them, you can mix with six other households; some of them you’ve got to basically stare at someone from the opposite corner of the room. So it’s been less people.
Deby: What’s next for you?
Silky: The next plan is to do a purely online course that people will work through at their own rate. That’s the thing that’s working for me while I sleep, but my enjoyment isn’t really in that, my enjoyment is more in direct interface with people.