MIXTAPE: Cal Halbert | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Hi, I’m Cal Halbert. Comedian, impressionist, voice actor and presenter. This month I have my most personal solo show ever, being performed at The Prohibition Bar, Newcastle on Sunday 30th October. Calcoholic tackles my battle with an alcohol problem. Although alcohol abuse is a very serious issue, my personal way – and a very British way – of addressing it, is through humour. Comedy helps us plucky Brits deal with anything, no matter how terrible the situation may be. This is a show completely left-field for me, as my usual style is very much Mr Saturday Night, all round entertainer; this show however is gritty, dark and fully gloves off. I was struggling to think of which songs to put on this list so thought I would put theme it as a story of my relationship with alcohol! Here goes!

O-Zone – Dragostea Din Tei

It’s 2009, my best friend and I visit Romania on an exchange to experience a new culture. All we did was spend time in local bars and restaurants getting increasingly more drunk each day we were there. I had been out previously, stealing my mum’s mascara to darken my moustache, but the drinking laws are so loose in Romania so being 16 wasn’t an issue. This trip was my first exposure to absinthe, of which I snorted by accident; already extremely intoxicated, I saw a blue/green mouthwash-looking shot come toward me. I leant forward to sniff what it was, half the shot went up my nose.

Chumbawamba – Tubthumping

Let’s face it, its a classic. Wedding, funeral, birthdays and Tuesday nights in a rough pub in Newcastle. This song will never fail to put a smile on my face. The amount of nights out, in pubs, clubs or bars where you could see everyone around the room, at least mouthing the chorus to this song. Although a bit of a naff song, it does ring true – we will be knocked down, but we will get up again!

Gary Portnoy – Cheers Theme (Full Length Record)

I never really had a feeling of belonging in my life until I found the pub. I came out as gay at 16 and I lost the majority of my friends through it, being brought up in a conservative stronghold, I studied Politics, PE and Performance – as they all logically went so well together. When I disclosed my sexuality to ‘the world’ I didn’t want to spend time with people in performance as they were rather OTT shall we say, I was of the wrong political persuasion and the PE guys cleverly thought I wanted to sleep with them. Not true obviously, they were all rotters!

Elvis Presley – Burning Love

Elvis Presley is my hero. He’s been a constant in my life, despite dying 15 years before I was even born. Through programmes such as Alcoholics Anonymous I was taught I needed a higher power in my life; not a God, simply a higher power. Well, here is my higher power – The King, Elvis Presley. He helps me through highs and lows and to that, I say, Thank You, Thank You Very Much.

Sia – Unstoppable

Since I stopping drinking, I’m a different person; creative, pleasant to be around, reliable, healthier, happier, my emotions have returned, I’m caring. My useless ‘armour’ of alcohol has gone and quite frankly, I feel so much better without it dragging me down. Of course, tough things happen, That’s Life as Frank Sinatra sang (there’s a cheeky sixth!) But I don’t feel the need to drink on any situation anymore. Sia is one of my partner’s favourite artists, so it feels fitting to end here. With my partner by my side, I feel unstoppable.


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