Our ArtistSpotlight blogs are a weekly feature where we focus on one of our performers, giving you the chance to find out more about the people behind the performances, and offering an insight into the world of professional entertainment
I was always joking and laughing at school. My grades made my parents laugh. I began in showing business; playing in glam rock bands when I was 14. I dressed up as a vampire on my first ever gig despite the rest of the band being in jeans and t shirts. After leaving school I toured with a band playing a star shaped bass, 4 inch platform boots and never enough makeup.
“I tired of all that excessive hairspray and clapping and decided to go to university and become all serious. That failed after I picked up a yoga book and the circus of horrors recruited me as a contortionist”.
They named me Rubber Richie then changed it to Rubber jony but I thought the former might get me more work at kid’s parties
I didn’t go down any classical route of circus school or such. I had lessons here and there in Yoga,Dance,Kung fu, and the usual sharing tricks with other performers. One yoga book taught me how to become a contortionist. I sat in my room every night stretching myself into funny positions for hour after hour. Then I tried the yoga!
“After 10 years trying to make ends meet and working flexible hours as a contortionist I met a magician whose wife had disappeared and he had become a master of twisting balloons”.
He showed me how it was done and how it didn’t matter that I was asthmatic as I could use a pump!
My favourite things about performing are jokes, laughter, being a big kid, having fun, unusual places to work, countries to see and the amount of disabled toilets you get to be in.
If I had to give a piece of advice to somebody who wants to get into my line of work, I would say find something/s that you have fun doing because that will come across to your audience.
The best event I had through contraband was a television advert for Easyjet where I got in and out of a suitcase around London. I could hardly contain myself!
My best experience working as a performer was the spoken acting part I had in Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire as a Death Eater. The worst experience was when said part was cut out of the film.
“I love being abroad and being an exotic fruit. Being in South Korea, India and Hong Kong were the most fun gigs”.
The worst gig was for a corporate event, where 2 of the invited 10 insurance men turned up and they watched my contortion act with faces like I was eating my own shoes.
I get my inspiration for my act in slapstick comedians like Laurel and Hardy, Jim Carey and Boris Johnson.
My biggest influences are Tommy Cooper, Jackie Chan, and Bootsy Collins. It’s not hard to see comedy all over the place if you look with the right eye or even with your left eye.
“People are far too serious”.
Now let’s talk about how I fit my work around my lifestyle! I have a baby now, but it’s one I made from balloons so I can leave it at home without worrying. I restrict myself away from long tours as I got rather grumpy being away when I toured with the Circus of Honours.
“The hours for balloon modelling are much more sociable compared to a freak show rubber man”.
If I could change one thing about working in the events industry I would add 2 zeros to the pay cheques.
My plans for the future are to do much more with ballons and music and to work more in acting and in movies. I also plan to write more blogs. Is this the end? Can I get my own weekly column?
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