Sunday, June 11, 2006

Halibut Showpiece 1927-2006

Born in 1927, Halibut Showpiece became infamous during the war for entertaining the home guard and stopping them from panicking. This he did with a routine consisting entirely of tricks with fish.
Highlights of his show included ‘The Codfather’ in which he re-enacted yet to be made films using mere fish and products based thereon. The favourite moment of this routine was the light sabre duel from Star Wars. Halibut played both Luke and Darth; half of his face painted like each character and trout used as light sabres. ‘Right time, wrong plaice’ was a game the community kids loved, wherein they learned to tell the time and decipher different fishes. ‘Don’t be koi’ caused many an awkward moment, as Halibut tried to get the shyest member of the audience to assist him in the act. This often worked, but not necessarily in the way Halibut intended as on numerous occasions the participant would get extremely embarrassed and bop him on the nose.
After the war Halibut took the act on tour, appearing at working mens clubs and at weddings (often uninvited) across the land. Due to a booking mix up he even supported the Beatles once. This meeting is said to have inspired one of the bands first examples of surreal lyrics in a rough demo ‘I Eel Fine’.
There was one last hurrah for Halibut. Producers of Big Brother used one of his games in their show and stardom beckoned again. An appearance on I’m A Celebrity soon followed, the highlight of which was Showpiece chasing a truly bewildered Terry Nutkin around the jungle. Nutkin had been complaining about being cold so Showpiece pursued him with a fish purloined from a nearby river. Through the bush they ran until Showpiece caught him, pulled his stumpy finger and repeatedly yelled “You feel ‘otter now Terry?”
His untimely demise at the age of 79 came when he succumbed to another bout of sleepwalking and fell into a nearby river. He never woke up and now truly sleeps with the fishes.


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