Interview with John Shuttleworth

John Shuttleworth takes some time to talk to Voice about the show, inspirations, and to give advice to young people.

Interview with John Shuttleworth


Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

My name is John Shuttleworth. I'm a versatile singer/organist from Sheffield, South Yourkshire, and I drive an Austin Ambassador (Y Reg)

How would you describe your show?

It's a nostalgic singalong - the same material I perform at the hospice, but hopefully here the audience won't be tempted to wander back to their rooms. No biscuits are provided though, sadly.

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

How do you know I do? Perhaps I'd rather sit and watch the magnificent Tattoo? But I'd have to pay for that so actually I do want to perform at the fringe, because there's no admission charge (for me, anyhow!)

What differentiates it from other festivals?

No sponge cake competitions and very little bunting, it seems.

Do you think the Fringe has changed over the years? If so, how? Are these changes positive or negative?

I've not been for a while so I don't know really. There used to be too many hills and people walking around in black shirts and jeans. Hopefully that's all gone - loose attire in pastel shades is so much more pleasing to the eye.

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

I bought an electronic organ with built in auto accompaniment from a retired policeman called Barry. My next-door neighbour, Ken Worthington, inspired me to enter show business, though I can't think why - he came last on New Faces in 73!

If you didn't have your current job, what would you probably be doing?

I've always had an urge to become a paramedic - I like the hi-vis clothing they wear. And you get to be on daytime telly which is everyone's dream really, isn't it?

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

I've just answered that.. keep up !

What is your earliest childhood art memory?

That's a funny one! Well, since you ask, it was drawing a sedan chair as part of a history project on Georgian town life. Mine was brilliant - everybody said so. Alright, I'd traced it, but still...

Do you ever feel any pressure to be a social commentator, or constantly update material to respond to events?

Yes, and I do. For instance, one of my new songs bemoans the demise of popular sweet brands which, let's face it, is on most people's minds constantly. "What happened to the Toffo? Someone's killed it off - oh !"

Equally, do you think there has been a shift in public sentiment that has affected your work?

Yes, I don't think folk care anymore about the removal of the cardboard tray in the Bounty Bar. Well, privately we're all still hopping mad, obviously, but as a nation we keep it to ourselves more these days.

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

Looking forward to the next one. Oo, that was six, but I'm sorry - what you are asking is impossible!

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?

That's a tricky one, but Peters and Lee perhaps? I think they'd have worked better as a trio. Or the Bachelors, cos they'd have operated superbly well as a quartet, don't you think?

Why would a performer opt to do either a ticketed event or participate in the free fringe? What are the benefits and limitations of both?

With a ticketed event, you get to share a wisecrack with the ticket collector, though it's always a sad moment when they tear your ticket - I don't think they should be allowed to do that. As for the other one - well, there's no such thing as a free fringe...

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

Ask yourself why you would want to do such a thing? Save your cash and buy yourself a new toaster, preferably one with a crumb tray.

When and where can people see your show?

The Gilded Balloon Teviot debating hall, Sat 12 and sun 13 August at 1800 hours. Please don't be late..

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

Twitter - @johnshuttlewrth, website-

John Shuttleworth: My Last Will and Tasty Mint is performing at The Gilded Balloon at 18:00 on 12th – 13th August. For tickets and more information visit the Ed Fringe website.


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe..

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