Swells Party

NME 13th November, 1982

The year when any gook could gatecrash the stage to read duff poetry and still be entertaining is drawing to a close.
Performance now is paramount and, if Seething Wells hasn’t built a comic act of quite the same quick-fire completeness as Little Brother, he has perfected his delivery, a harsher slickness, a more violent comic crack.
SWells still carries too much deadweight – a year in the act and Tetley Bittermen is just so much excess baggage – but his content sharpens all the time.
Tonight he covered all this week’s news items, trapped all your favourite taboos and threw them back fast at the audience’s brickwall liberal conscience.
The audience, of course, lapped it up. SWells patted them on the head, jibed mercilessly and, dutifully, the audience clapped more buckets.
Lots of sex and lots of speed, the new material flies all over the shop. SWells is a vicious gag.
Angry young poets tire easily if they fail to charge their spite with new fire, new rant, new targets. It’s not long before real nasty becomes real boring.
While he mocks himself, Seething Wells, the counter-culture hyper-fad, is still crucial – a working-class clown. The problem with working class heroes is that they take themselves too seriously.

X. Moore



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