Actor and comedian Tim Vine reveals to the County Times his secret love affair with music and why he can never release it to the public
I get a tip off that the comedian from the BBC series ‘Not Going Out’, the man who won the award for best joke at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2010, and who sells-out stand-up tours across the UK is visiting a Lower Beeding music studio.
This may seem like a tenuous link for a Sussex Sounds story, but I leave the office on a whim.
On my arrival there is the man himself, Tim Vine, hanging out, listening to one of his original tracks with music producer Graham Noon at the mixing desk in Eversfield Studio.
“I’ve always loved just making up songs and dreaming of pop stardom,” says Tim. He points to Graham, “We constantly say, we’re going to get one big hit in there eventually.”
Tim and Graham laugh, they’ve clearly been on this sporadic journey to chart topping success for quite some time, but it has all been in good fun.
“I met Graham when he was 18-years-old. He was an engineer in a studio in Yule and I was keen on being a pop star.
“18 myself, I turned up with my little Casio keyboard, he rolled his eyes, then I sat down and we recorded some songs and I took it away on a cassette - that’s how long ago it was, we’re talking about 1984, 85.”
His hopes and aspirations to become the next pop sensation may have never come to fruition, but Tim’s following success as a nationally acclaimed comedian has still given him the opportunity to dabble in music.
“Even when I ended up doing comedy I still came here and we’ve become good friends over the years. I record all my backing tracks and stuff for all my silly little songs. Some of them last for three minutes and some are ten second bursts.”
Fondly known for his witty one-liners and puns, Tim’s critically acclaimed stand-up acts have led him to publishing several joke books, featuring at festivals, releasing stand-up DVDs and working in TV, film and the theatre.
Comedy aside, however, Tim still has secret aspirations to transition into the pop industry.
“I have all these little ideas about albums that are sort of... I don’t know, if you listen to it I’m not sure you would say it was serious.
“I’m currently doing a high voice disco album, which is me going myaaaa,” Tim attempts what sounds like his best Bee Gees impression.
“It’s all unlistenable, but most of the time, as Graham’s hard drive would back up, I don’t do anything with it, so we’ve got hundreds of songs on there.”
I’m surprised to learn that there is an extensive archive of Tim Vine original music just waiting to be unleashed onto the world... or is that wise? I find it hard to gauge whether the comedian is being serious, or simply pulling my leg.
I ask, why not publish it to iTunes?
“There’s one thing, Pretend Popstar it’s called which is available on iTunes somewhere, but because it’s not comedy I feel like I don’t want to put my name to it because I don’t want to mislead people.
“I still haven’t worked out whether we should do it as Tim Vine or something different, but then if you do it under a pseudonym no one ever hears it or sees it.”
One incident in Tim’s quest for a serious music career was enough to dissuade anyone from taking to the stage ever again.
“We went to Glastonbury and did all my serious/gently humorous songs with a band, but these guys weren’t used to being booed off. It was a very dramatic experience for all of them (laughs).”
Graham steps in, “They started throwing bottles at us!”
Tim interjects, “It was only one plastic bottle, don’t make it sound like a shower, and it was way off target.”
I cannot help but feel more and more intrigued by this curious sound. One day could we see Tim Vine the pop star? I ask.
“No, I don’t think I can back that up (laughs), but I still have that dream and why not? It’s more of a pretend dream. I come in here, go behind that bit of glass and suddenly I feel like Elvis.”
When asking Tim who he would compare himself to musically, he says: “I don’t know, some deluded tramp?”
I think there must be a market out there for a ‘high voice disco album’, but there is still a small part of me that does not feel totally convinced by Tim’s hidden aspirations.
“There is an audience for my comedy, so it is true that some of the people who have heard my songs sometimes say, ‘when are you going to do another Pretend Popstar album?’ So for those three maybe we should release another album.”
Leading me to a computer, Tim clicks on a track called ‘Jaws 2’. I anticipate a drum roll, but instead a high-pitched voice blurts into the surrounding speakers singing - you guessed it - ‘Jaws 2, Jaws 2’.
The only thing I can compare the sound to is if Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh teamed up with the Bee Gees and snagged a deal with Universal to write and perform the title track for the Jaws sequel - it could happen!
Tim admits that he might eventually put his music out into the public domain, possibly under another name, or his own, if he feels bold enough.
Alas, there are no set dates for this. We may just have to wait until he is ready, but in the mean time Tim is still a busy man, appearing in the costume drama, Blandings, alongside Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders.
“I might go on tour again some time next spring,” he reveals.
Maybe the public are not ready for Tim Vine’s musical genius just yet, or maybe they are - until the day comes for its release, we may never know.
Watch this space!
To keep up with Tim’s movements visit: www.timvine.com.
To learn more about Eversfield Studio visit: www.eversfieldstudio.co.uk.