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Wilby - Just the Tonic, Tron Bar, Edinburgh, 24/8/2011

  by John Clarkson

published: 28 / 8 / 2011

Wilby - Just the Tonic, Tron Bar, Edinburgh, 24/8/2011


John Clarkson finds much to enjoy in comedian Rosie Wilby's self-deprecating new show, 'Rosie's Pop Diary', which tells of her time in the Brit Pop years trying and ultimately failing to make a success as a singer-songwriter

Rosie Wilby spent the 1990s working in music as both a journalist and a singer-songwriter. The Lancashire-born, London-based Wilby abandoned writing songs for stand-up comedy in 2004. Her new show, 'Rosie's Pop Diary', which she brought to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for three weeks, takes its name from a column she wrote for the long defunct magazine, 'Making Music', between 1996 and 2001. It is an anecdotal account of her life in her twenties in the Brit Pop years during which she tried and ultimately failed to make a success of her band and then, after the other members left, eventual solo project, Wilby. The amiable Wilby's humour is largely self-deprecating, and certainly very funny as the confessed "big gay" looks back with obvious great affection on some of her loves of her era. There is a hilarious tale in which Wilby, whose songwriting was largely melancholic, recounts how she was invited to perform some of her songs at the wedding of a girl whom she had a massive crush on. In another equally tragicomic story, she describes how her and her shaker-playing girlfriend's flat burnt down and their clothes were destroyed two days before the launch gig for her only album, 'Precious Hours, 'at the fashionable Camden Monarch. These stories are peppered with personal slides and photos from the time, including an unlikely promotional photo of her dressed like a wannabe lad's mag favourite in a fur coat and bra. Wilby also, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, plays several of the songs from her song book. Stripped of the lush arrangements of 'Precious Hours', which came out in 2000, tracks such as 'This Time', 'You Amaze Me', 'I Want You' and her final single 'Reward' still carry a punch, and her soaring vocals have a wistful, but earthy beauty. As funny as she is, 'Rosie's Pop Diary' serves also as a long overdue reminder of what a neglected musical talent Rosie Wilby was.

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Interview (2002)
Wilby - Interview
Rosie Wilby is unique – not just because she is a renaissance-woman media mogul in the making – but also because she is astonishingly patient and empathetic for a woman who seems to have more ‘hats’


Profile (2014)
Wilby - Profile
John Clarkson reflects on musician-turned-comedian Rosie Wilby's new stand-up show, 'Nineties Woman'


Precious Hours (2001)
At a first glance, the front cover photograph of ‘Precious Hours’, the new album by Wilby, seems both conventional and also relatively unassuming. It shows a thoughtful young woman walking up the isla

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