It happens to be the 40th anniversary of Elvis’s death when Mike Bubbins takes the stage, a vision in double paisley (a patterned satin shirt and cord flares), with a small chest rug and medallion for decoration. The Cortina-driving Burt Reynolds lookalike spent years as an impersonator of The King, and reminisces about doing some particularly soul-crushing and badly attended gigs in the Welsh Valleys.
He’s good at pointing out the many ropey, shabby sides of his beloved Wales (it’s never okay for others to do it though, thank you, he adds with pretend annoyance) – and describes recent trips to Barry Island’s fun fair and Swansea’s nightclubs with a mix of utter disappointment and mild affection.
Heavy on the nostalgia, his show might go over the heads of some, as there’s a lot of stuff about his 1970s heroes and the glory days of Buck Rogers, Evil Knievel, Hurricane Higgins and co. He usually manages to find ridiculous things to laugh at in the dullest moments, like tedious dinner parties with sensible parents, invigilating school exams when he used to be a teacher or admiring prize vegetables at an agricultural show. Despite his angry irritation at all things modern—he doesn’t like misogynist porn these days, for example, and fondly remembers the pre-internet days when he’d slyly trace out a copy of Linda Lusardi’s silhouette from his gran’s copy of The Sun—there actually seems to be a fairly cheerful guy lurking underneath the synthetic fabrics.