Summer Winos»Archive for October 2015

Archive for October 2015

Wellystock 2015: Crusher In The Cafe

Crusher In The Cafe 1 In which Crusher finally learns the business…

On Saturday 24th October 2015, the Summer Winos website reached a milestone… its first official event! The streets of Holmfirth might have been chilly and windswept, but Sid’s Cafe was a warm hive of activity, as two packed houses of Summer Wine fans crammed into this beautiful and intimate venue to witness a little bit of history; Jonathan ‘Crusher’ Linsley returning to the cafe – and indeed to Holmfirth – for the first time in almost thirty years.

It all started back in March, when Jonathan kindly agreed to be interviewed for the Summer Winos website about his time working on the show. He had so many great stories to tell (and we’ll have the whole interview on the site soon – we  promise!) that we were determined to meet up with him at some stage for a proper chat. And when he mentioned that he hadn’t been back to Holmfirth since leaving the show, well… we clearly had to put that right.

Crusher In The Cafe 2Tickets for the event were sold out in advance, and – on the day itself – there seemed to be a real buzz of anticipation around the town. Jonathan had arranged to meet us for lunch in the bar of the Old Bridge Hotel, and it’s fair to say we were a little bit shaky ourselves. After four years of blogging our most candid and intimate thoughts about the show, this was the first time we’d ever met one of its stars in the flesh! Would Crusher stride manfully from the snug in his white ‘frock’ and studded bikers’ gloves, ready to bang our heads together? Would we even recognise him, almost three decades on from his final Summer Wine appearance?

Needless to say, the answer to these questions were, erm… no. And yes. In that order. We found Jonathan in a quiet corner of the bar, looking almost entirely unchanged since 1987! And he’s fabulous company; funny, thoughtful, and an absolute goldmine of fascinating anecdotes from the acting world. We enjoyed a relaxed bite to eat with Jonathan, his wife Frances and their friend Joy, and then – finally – it was time to wander over to the cafe.

Crusher In The Cafe 3With a buzzing throng of Summer Wine fans already congregating in that famous square outside the front door, Jonathan quite rightly decided to preserve the integrity of his theatrical entrance, and crept around the back of the cafe to hide in the venue’s sumptuous Green Room! (Mind the bucket). And, with cafe owner Laura buzzing around, serving tea and cake in a considerably more friendly manner than Crusher’s Auntie Ivy ever managed, the crowd began to excitedly wander in. We were thrilled to find quite a few devotees of this humble website amongst the audience – and, needless to say, we’re very grateful for all of your kind words.

And then the moment finally arrived… with a theatrical flourish, Jonathan emerged from the cafe kitchen to rapturous applause, and proceeded to entertain the crowd for well over an hour with a fabulous talk, covering his early days as a viewer (as a Yorkshire teenager, he’d been a spectator during location filming for the Blamire episodes!); telling us how the character – and costume – of Crusher came about; how his success in the Last of the Summer Wine stage play led to him being headhunted for the TV show; and all about his extraordinary career beyond Summer Wine… including breathtaking tales of Hollywood excess, working alongside Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Crusher In The Cafe 5

And, in a stroke of utter genius as the talk reached its climax, the character of Crusher was reborn before us! Gasps of delight sprang forth from the crowd as a white ‘frock’ and a pair of studded bikers’ gloves were indeed produced from a hitherto hidden suitcase. Jaws dropped, cameras flashed, and there he was… Crusher in the Cafe! Towering over everyone in the room, Jonathan was thrilled to pose for photos, sign several hundredweight of memorabilia, and chat one-on-one to fans about his fascinating career, and his time on the show.

And then, as darkness fell outside the cafe windows… we did it all over again! Such was the popularity of this first Summer Winos event, that we’d sold it out twice over. So a second, entirely different capacity crowd were then treated to a repeat performance, just as funny and fascinating as the first. And the celebrations rumbled on, long into the evening.

Crusher In The Cafe 4

Huge thanks to Jonathan, Frances and Joy for their endless enthusiasm, and all the time and effort that they all put into making this event such a success. And indeed to Laura Booth, owner of Sid’s Cafe, and her amazing team… they seem to have boundless reserves of patience when it comes to our madcap schemes, and it’s been a thrill and a pleasure to work with them all.

And the question on everyone’s lips… will we back with another Summer Winos event in 2016?

Well, let’s just say we’re ‘learning the business…’

Crusher In The Cafe 6