Johnny Vegas, longtime fan of Billy Braggs’s songs, recently sought out the famously earnest singer-songwriter for help with some music for a drama he was directing called ‘Ragged’, featuring Ricky Tomlinson. As a thank you, Johnny offered to make a video of the song he loved on Bragg’s latest album, Tooth & Nail. The result is this all-star affair for the Bard of Barking’s Handyman Blues, absolutely stuffed with well-known British TV faces and comic talent (plus a proper Actor).
Ross Noble, Neil Morrissey, Stewart Lee, Kevin Eldon, Ricky Grover, Samuel West, Phill Jupitus, and of course Vegas himself, all feature in this – as DIY-phobic blokes taking part in some kind of public therapy session in their least favourite place: a DIY superstore. Where they proceed to share lipsync duties on Billy’s “I’m a poet, not Bob The Builder”-style lyric. And where you get to witness the bizarre sight of Men Behaving Badly’s Morrissey handing over singing duties to the relentlessly austere Stewart Lee.
You have to say that’s a lot of love for Billy Bragg, for a song that is a long, long way from being New England, or Between The Wars.
And no sign at all, unfortunately, of the great Timothy Spall, dispensing proper DIY wisdom to this bunch, preferably via a nailgun, while uttering his immortal voice-over line: “Wiiiiickes – it’s got our name on it…”.