Wikipedia is a fantastic resource for literally anything you could ever want to know, provided you’re not too fussed about things like facts or the truth. More than that, it’s a great place for the mentally unbalanced to unload a borderline-autistic hoard of knowledge about one specific subject they’ve spent a lifetime harvesting and compiling.
One of my favourite hobbies is thinking about celebrities of days gone by, wondering what ever happened to them, Googling the person in question and then feeling depressed for a while. Today, I invite you to join me on that journey.
If you grew up in the late 80’s or the early 90’s then you know who the Chuckle Brothers are, don’t even pretend otherwise. In fact, statistically, there’s a good chance you even shouted out ‘to me, to you’ as soon as they were mentioned. This will be important for later.
If you really need a reminder, Paul and Barry Chuckle made a name for themselves with their Chucklevision show, wherein they raised generations of kids to be absolutely terrified of ladders, chandeliers, and any combination of the two.
Since I’m not a father or a sex offender, I don’t watch a lot of children’s TV anymore, or attend pantomimes, but a quick glance at the Wikipedia entry for the comedy duo shows they’ve stayed in gainful employment on an almost constant basis right up to the present day. You might be starting to wonder what, then, is the tragic hilarity in this story.
For that we have to head to the ‘Personal Life’ section of their Wiki entry:
‘In April 2007, while on holiday on the Greek island of Kefalonia, Paul broke his nose and received cuts and bruises when he lost control of his motorbike […] Tourists who stopped at the accident, instead of helping him out, shouted out the Chuckle Brothers’ catchphrase: “To me, to you.”’
If it wasn’t for the fact the BBC was cited as the source for this story, I would be absolutely convinced that this was a hoax. What kind of nutter, after seeing a horrendous crash, starts shouting catchphrases instead of helping the injured party? That’s like if you saw the dickhead host of Man V. Food choking on a three-stone hamburger and, instead of performing the Heimlich manoeuvre, you started shouting his catchphrase, which I believe is something along the lines of, ‘In the fight of man against food, this time, HNNNGGG OH MY GOD MY HEART SOMEONE CALL AN AMBULANCE.’
Back to poor Paul Chuckle though, for some reason I find this story all the more amusing for the fact that the only other information in the section about their personal life is a single sentence stating that the brothers are fans of Rotheram football club.
Giant of pop, Rik Waller –and I mean that in the literal sense, not in regard to his success or talent– stunned Pop Idol audiences in 2001 when he proved to the world, finally, that fat people can sing.
After being forced to drop out of the show due to throat related injuries that were almost certainly caused by singing and not pie, the behemoth of beats went on to butcher the Dolly Parton classic, ‘I Will Always Love You’ because he felt that the definitive Whitney Houston version was lacking something. Possibly the implication that it was a tender ballad about a cake shop.
After being forced to drop out of his contract with EMI –due to the shock discovery that people had very little interest in hearing a semi-talented singer do paint-by-numbers rehashes of classic songs– Waller entered Celebrity Fit Club in a bid to shift some of his excess weight, with a view to using it as insulation in under-privileged households around the country.
After being forced to drop out of Celebrity Fit Club due to cake-related injuries  Waller signed up with Red Admiral Records –who have signed numerous industry staples such as absolutely no one I have ever fucking heard of— and took his own band on the road.
After being forced to drop out of the tour due to the fact his first concert in Devon only sold two tickets Rik Waller disappeared from the public eye to refine his craft and launch himself back to the top.
Today, he can regularly be found doing signings…at his local job centre in Kent. Only kidding, he’s an exam invigilator now. So, that’s good, I guess?
The Rollers were, for a time, industry leaders in the kind of inoffensive rock and roll that made teenage girls swoon, but put parents at ease because they knew that, worst case scenario, if one of these boys were to be staying at the house regularly, the only worry would be having to buy an extra box of tampons every now and then.
Like most entries for old bands on Wikipedia, the touring history is a sad tale of a meteoric rise and brutal fall; from filling stadiums to a semi-regular gig at Butlin’s. Also like many bands and performers, the Rollers have spent years embroiled in financial battles with their record labels, claiming they were regularly exploited and not paid the royalties that were rightfully theirs. This is where it gets interesting.
In 2007, several former members of the band planned to sue Arista Records over unpaid royalties, which made other former member, Nobby Clark, stand up and take notice. He announced plans to counter-sue the band members if they were successful, citing the fact he had been instrumental in their success.
Funny Fact: Singer Nobby Clark left the band in 1973, to be replaced by Les McKeown forming what would become known as the ‘classic line-up’, i.e. the line-up that made the band successful and start producing hits.
Funnier fact: the reason Clark left the band was due to his dissatisfaction with their lack of success, the same success he was now suing to prove he was responsible for.
The whole depressing mess was the grown-up equivalent of a child who is quite happy playing with his Spider-Man toy but then he sees someone has picked up his Batman toy and –fuck everything– that Batman is the only thing he has ever wanted in the entire universe. Only with millions of dollars, so I guess I can kind of understand.
Speaking of disgruntled artists…
When it comes to people grossly over-estimating their involvement in a band’s success, no one can hold a candle to the original drummer of Oasis, Tony McCarrol. Despite possessing only a modicum of talent, with skills on par with pretty much anyone who has just been handed a pair of drumsticks, McCarroll felt he deserved a bigger slice of the Oasis riches after being sacked from the band in 1995.
To achieve this, he decided to sue the band for the royalties for three future albums. That he wouldn’t be playing on. This isn’t like suing for loss of earnings after being sacked from your job; this is suing for a job you were never going to do because you were so shit you were fired from that job before you got anywhere near doing it.
The best part is that the £600,000 sum McCarroll allegedly settled on out of court (£350,000 after legal fees) meant severing all ties with the band, meaning he would no longer receive royalties for the songs he did play on.
It’s kind of like the old ‘give a man a fish…’ adage but the other way around. ‘Give an idiot a few thousand pounds every year for the rest of his life and he’ll sue you; give him six-hundred thousand right away, and he will take it like a fucking moron.’
In my opinion, the saddest entries on Wikipedia are the ones for celebrities who, despite huge success as part of an act, just kind of petered out and disappeared off the face of the Earth.
Unless you were one of the few people not heavily invested in the 1993 UK reggae scene, you’ll undoubtedly remember Chaka Demus and Pliers seminal hits, such as ‘Tease Me (Tease Me, Tease Me, Tease Me, Baby)’ and…’Gal Wine’. Anyway, with ‘Tease Me’ being described as ‘our generation’s Beethoven’s 5th‘ by absolutely no one, these guys were going nowhere but up.
They also held the proud distinction of being the only Jamaican act with three consecutive top five hits in the UK charts, until their record was toppled by Shaggy. I guess it takes some of the sting out of it, knowing you’ve been bested by a master of the craft. (In case you’ve forgotten, Shaggy was the man who single-handedly set the gender wars back a hundred years by suggesting men should consistently deny accusations of infidelity, in spite of their obvious guilt.)
Sadly, this was only one of the nails in C&P’s coffin. After the duo went their separate ways, Pliers was unable to match the success of Chaka Demus, who went on to start a very successful hardware business: Chaka Demus’ Pliers (& Other Hardware Goods) ltd.
Today, Pliers is best known for a song in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (assuming you’re one of the two people that listen to the reggae stations in those games) and also having a brother who, I swear to God, chooses to be known as Spanner Banner.
I’ll be honest, I wrote this entire article just so I could tell you that there is a man on this planet who thinks Spanner Banner is a cool name.