Phill Jupitus had a secret gig in Chippenham on Wednesday night, watched exclusively by 70 lucky ticket holders.
The Never Mind The Buzzcocks star made a surprise appearance at a poetry night at the Three Crowns pub in The Causeway, where he had been billed under the pseudonym Porky the Poet.
Jupitus was invited to perform in Chippenham by the town’s own comedian, Will Hodgson, of Monkton Park. They met up while both performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year.
Mr Hodgson, 34, has put on a monthly comedy night at Three Crowns for the last two years and wanted to thank the regulars by giving them alone the chance to welcome the comic.
The gig was only advertised in the pub and on Mr Hodgson’s Facebook page.
The TV comic began writing political poetry when he worked in a Jobcentre after leaving school.
He used the nickname Porky the Poet when supporting Billy Bragg, with his performance poetry, on tour in the 1980s.
Last night’s gig raised £700 for Doorway, a charity providing open access drop-in sessions for homeless and vulnerably housed adults in Chippenham.
Mr Hodgson said: “I wanted to help Doorway because I’ve had friends that have been down on their luck and had to use the service. My uncle, Phil Hodgson, did work for them, too, before he passed away.
“Phill wanted it to be a very low-key event. The Three Crowns is a nice, intimate venue for poetry.”
Doorway chief executive Lisa Lewis said she was delighted and extremely grateful for the surprise donation. She said: “My friend said, ‘You’ve got to get tickets NOW,’ and I said, ‘Don’t be silly, this is Chippenham’, but, sure enough, I got a call ten minutes later to say they’d sold out.”
Also performing on Wednesday night was Rob Jones, the Lib Dem town councillor for Allington.
The fundraiser is an early boost for next weeks’s Poverty and Homelessness Action Week.
Blues rock band Electric Doorway – whose members have all been helped by Doorway – will perform in aid of the charity at The Cause next Saturday, January 26, from 7.30pm to 10.30pm. Many of the band’s songs are based on their experiences of being homeless and vulnerably housed.
They will be supported by local bands Dapper Dan’s and the Tin Cards. Tickets cost £5, or £3 concessions, both on the door.
A service at St Andrew’s Church in Market Place will highlight the devastating effects of homelessness. It takes place on Sunday, January 27, at 3pm and is open to members of all Chippenham’s churches.
Mrs Lewis said: “There is no classic stereotype of a homeless person anymore. It really can happen to anybody. Many of our guests are employable and desperate to find work, but there are no jobs for life anymore.”
To support Doorway, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on (01249) 445385.