Otway and Barrett at the Purple Turtle

Hard to believe the Purple Turtle has been around since 1990 (and one building move in 1997 to avoid the Oracle’s bulldozers).

Last year they spent a million on refurbishing the place and it is indeed really lovely.

The decoration around the building is always interesting with some classic pieces, such as the old favourite “It’s a trap!” meme:

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So now it’s 25th birthday time and the pinnacle of the “25 shows for 25 years” run is John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett.

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I’ve seen John Otway a few times now (2010, 2011 and maybe Glastonbury 1999 when he teamed up with Attila the Stockbroker) but I can’t declare myself a big fan.  The gigs are fun, especially after a few beers, but I can’t shake off a feeling that may be pity.  I don’t think he’s really the sort of comedy act I appreciate the most (Mitch Benn, Bill Bailey, Boothby Graffoe, etc.) and the way Barrett looks at Otway during the set just makes me feel sorry for him. I know it’s all part of the act – it has to be – and he has a fantastically loyal fanbase but I find it difficult to feel empathy with ‘Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure’.

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