Sunday, 23 September 2018

Farewell to The Jolly Sailor

The Jolly Sailor, in Canterbury, has officially closed down.

It's the end of an era. This is really sad to me for a lot of reasons; both personal and political.
When I first started out in comedy, it was really hard to find a venue and an outlet to perform stand-up when at University. The venues on offer would either be incredibly unsuitable rooms or they would make you pay through the nose (but usually it was both). Some friends recommended to get in touch with Ian Blacky Blackmore to do shows at The Jolly Sailor, Canterbury. This was such a significant moment in my career as Ian allowed me to use his lovely upstairs space to run comedy events for free. He didn't ask for a single penny and he actively encouraged creating art in his room. He would supportively say "You may as well be in here, otherwise it would be stood empty". This was such a rare kindness where a lot of business didn't exhibit.
There was no other space in Canterbury to do something like this, nor was there a supportive network like what The Jolly Sailor offered. The moment I stepped through that door, Ian and his amazing crew treat me like one of their own.
From that opportunity, I put on loads of comedy: including my Hosstages (my sketch show), Magna Laughter and loads of previews. More significantly, I ran my first ever comedy club (Toys In The Attic) there. This was a platform for me to write regular material, to be become a compere and to not have to pay mega-bucks to travel to London to cut my teeth in the industry. It was where I learned my craft, and it allowed me to experiment and become myself. I have so many great memories of so many hilarious nights there (and memories of many deaths too 😅).
I wouldn't be the comedian I am now without The Jolly Sailor.
I'm really upset that it has to end. I'm upset that other students or artists won't have an access to create and play. I'm upset that this isn't uncommon, and is happening far too often to small businesses. It shouldn't have to be like that. I wish there were more places in the world like The Jolly Sailor, and I hope that there are more people in the world like Ian. They were a perfect combination which really made me feel at home in Canterbury. I can't thank them enough for everything they have done. They mean the world to me and will always remembered with such fondness in my heart.
Cherish the venues that love you as much you love them. It's rare.