So Jim Davidson has bloody done it! He’s proved his critics wrong by winning BBC 1’s “The Voice” thanks in no small part to mentor Dannii Minogue and a cracking rendition of “Ebony and Ivory” for his final performance. In the aftermath though, many were quick to dredge up his troubled past, citing his apparent homophobia, violent misogyny and racial hatred from such untrustworthy sources as his own autobiography. There’s no denying he’s had a chequered past; the fights, the blacking up, that penalty miss in Euro ‘96 (oh Jim!) But is it fair to judge a man solely on his decisions, actions, things he says and writes, company he keeps and the testimonies of people close to him? Let me tell you this, I’ve been lucky enough to meet Jim Davidson on a number of occasions and I have to say he’s always struck me.
These constant blows to the face surprised me at first but he’s a passionate man and sometimes passion equals punches. Just ask (name of professional boxer)! Our first meeting was a strange and magical time, which I will recount soon enough, but first let us talk something of the character of this big winner. Here are the facts YOU need to know:
Jim Davidson makes soldiers laugh. Yeah. Soldiers. Feel bad now don’t you buddy? Soldiers get sad because their job is shooting people to kill them and if their boots aren’t clean enough a nasty man shouts at them. They have to live in weird places like Arabia and Northern Ireland and it’s no fun at all for them. So Jim Davidson goes to where they work, he actually goes there, it’s not a DVD or a hologram like the Olympics he goes there himself and tells them other people’s jokes he’s heard. What a guy! All he asks for in exchange is the chance to borrow a big gun and fire a stream of bullets into the air shouting his own name. That and money. But I’m sorry, if someone doing something because it’s some of the best paid work available to them doesn’t make them a hero then I ask you; what DOES it take? Someone pass me a means of leaving the country and one of those travel adapters because I don’t want to live here anymore! Sometimes when soldiers cry he holds them. He likes when they cry.
At the weekend Jim Davidson fights ghosts. Didn’t expect that did you? He doesn’t go on about it but Jim Davidson is brave when he fights ghosts. He puts on a special jacket that helps him find the ghosts and he’s got a net he uses to catch them and a bag he puts them in. The bag is made of human flesh so the ghosts can’t escape and the net is weaved from his own Jim Davidson hair. Seen a ghost lately? No? That’s because of Jim Davidson. He took me with him once, it was wondrous to behold. He really bloody went for it. Screaming his own name and swinging away. I mean, I think it was a ghost. It might just have been a pale man. But then, as I all too often say, let he who hasn’t punched an albino throw the first stone. The point is, he’s getting some exercise and that’s great to see. But perhaps the biggest surprise for me about Jim Davidson was something I learned the very first time I met him. It was a strange and magical day for me and I present the facts proper for the very first time:
“Don’t tell me, you’re one of those alternative comics are you?” The brilliant Jim Davidson snarled at me playfully. I was backstage at a university gig. Jim Davidson wasn’t performing but the beer was cheap and the pool table gave free games if you knew how to kick it right. I replied that I didn’t really like to pigeonhole myself and that the old conception of alternative was these days fairly mainstream anyway. He began to jog around me in a wide circle, slowly closing in with every lap. “Is this alternative?” He asked genuinely as he released a single testicle from his trousers. It was his own and tattooed across it was the name Jim Davidson.
“Hard to say” I mused, “it certainly has elements of clowning to it which is very much in the oeuvre of alternative at the moment. Really it would be defined by context.”
Satisfied he came to a slow stop and looked me in the eyes. “But would the Queen like it?” He twinkled, his mouth bursting into a guffaw. It was to be the first time he struck me and I knew then this would be a friendship that would last the ages.
Unable or perhaps unwilling to zip his genitals away again he spent the next hour showing me photos on his phone of the various soldiers he’d hugged. We agreed on a top three then he took my hand, more gently than I could have possibly imagined and asked, “Would you like to go on an adventure?”
An hour later we were soaring above the British countryside in a strange and beautiful airship, half balloon, half glider, all magic. Headed who knew where. The ship was called “The Jim Davidson Super Airship” and Jim Davidson had built it himself. Though I have no doubt Jim Davidson was capable of flying it I noticed it was in fact piloted by a silver haired ape in a snazzy waistcoat.
“I daresay you won’t recognise our pilot.” Remarked the winner Jim Davidson. “Sadly he has devolved somewhat since our time on Big Break together. A terrible curse that we shall one day lift.”
I would not have thought it possible, but now I properly fixed those ape eyes with mine I wondered how I had missed it at first. There was no doubt that this was snooker’s John Virgo.“If you’re lucky he’ll do a trick shot for you later on.” Jim Davidson remarked, affectionately ruffling the primitive neck hair of John Virgo. He smiled a brave smile. “Still got it haven’t you John?” No response. A sad silence briefly fell upon the ship.
“But come,” said Jim Davidson to me, “it will be a full two hours before we land, just time for us to perform a short opera. Do you have anything prepared?”
“I could muddle my way through a little Faustus.” I ventured.
Excellent! Cried Jim Davidson “I shall fill in when required. Let us waste no time.” A playful blow to the head and we were off, weaving once more that immortal tale of man and devil. We finished in a fine sweat and collapsed laughing onto a comfortable chaise longue. Looking out the porthole window I realised we had landed. On top of a pyramid!
With his trademark dexterity of words Jim Davidson swiftly and expertly explained that we had traveled back in time to Egypt in the 1890’s on a mission to recover a rare amulet for those crazy boffins back at the British Museum.
“I have to say Jim Davidson” I ventured, head spinning from the wild adventure I had been plunged into, “I didn’t expect you to be a daredevil relic hunter for the British Museum in the late nineteenth century.”
Jim Davidson smiled a hero’s smile “A lot of people say that, but if you think about it, who else is so perfectly suited to the job?”
Jim Davidson was right. Again. I nodded in approval and awe as he kicked hard at my shins.
“Come along rookie, let’s see how far your “alternative comedy” gets you against the amassed hordes of reanimated mummies.”
I would hardly have believed what happened next had I not seen it with my own man eyes. Jim Davidson strolled into that Pharaoh’s tomb like it was just another Thursday night at the local Working Men’s Club of comedy. Firing fierce joke bullets of pure gold, blam, and second blam, he turned the angry hordes before him into a giggling mess of ancient, embalmed idiots. I’m not sure these undead fools even understood his words, perhaps not even Jim Davidson himself did, but the rhythm he employed and the funny faces he pulled, my heavens, they were more powerful than any clever wordplay or ironic gesture could ever hope to be. Yes sir; more astonishing than any “post modern unraveling of the structure of humour.” I can honestly say I have never seen a rare Egyptian amulet recovered from a tomb quite so perfectly.
I saw then how pointless “alternative comedy” was; understood the futility of original observation. I perceived at last the truth. Jim Davidson wasn’t fighting creativity or a forward-looking approach to a fundamentally prehistoric art form, God love him; it was simply that “alternative comedy” was killing the world of relic hunting in the late 19th Century. Or, put another way, only Jim Davidson could truly save the world. That same day he went on to rescue twelve orphans (from a possible seventeen) and still had time to kiss a dying Prince. A true warrior of hope. Yet, somehow, in this mad cavalcade of glory the successful Jim Davidson had also managed to return me back to the bleak university stand up gig just in time for me to go on stage.
“How can I ever thank you Jim Davidson?” I asked full of real human awe.
Jim Davidson that we’ve been talking about this whole time just laughed, swiftly cracked two of my ribs and bluntly whispered “just get out and there, and smash that gig rookie.”
Needless to say I went onto that stage full to bursting with pride and ended up doing kind of okay. Not good enough to start doing paid work for them of course but they did offer me another open spot 6 months later in Huddersfield. All thanks to Jim Davidson!
So next time you decide to slag off the brilliant Jim Davidson think on what I have told you. People say Jim Davidson is a bad man. But let’s put it in context. Is he as bad as a lion that eats a boy? Is he as bad as two Hitlers? Is he as bad as the witch doctor that cursed John Virgo to devolve to be an ape? I could go on. Is he as bad as The Phantom Menace? Is he as bad as a meal on a train? Is he as bad as ten thousand forks when all you need is a spoon? I could go on. Is he as bad as Samuel L Jackson’s CV in the early 2000’s? Is he as bad as your worst family holiday? Is he as bad as heartbreak and fear and disease and war and all the callous words spilt idly across a remorseless internet? I can’t go on.
Britain gets the heroes it deserves. To my mind there was no more fitting winner of the Great British Bake Off than our dear, sweet, strong Jim Davidson. His marbled sponge dropped from that greased tin like fresh tears from a holy statue, keen to quench the hungry souls of this tired nation. When he’s not around I miss Jim Davidson. I miss the sweet kiss of his fists. I miss the way he rides around on John Virgo whist singing show tunes. Most of all, I miss the man I am around him.
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