Colin Ashton & Michael 'Mitch' Mitchinson
Smart garb and all ready to hit the social club cabaret scene
from the early 1970s right up and into the noughty's..
"The Two Of Us came after the demise of Ipso Facto and lasted 39 years - with Pokie inbetween.
We started after a night out at Wigan Rugby RL Club and 'performing again' after the bands finished, never crossed either mine or Colin's mind's; that is, until we saw The Kierons.
It's the second time Ronnie Carr has influenced me in this life-time. Firstly, with The Beat Boys and now The Kierons. The Kierons were Ronnie Carr and Keith Wright of The Sportsmen who had worked together in The New City Showband. They were excellent and a far cry fom beat groups - yes folks.. this was CABARET!. It was a great night and the duo was superb. There was a comedian also on the bill; bill - ouch again - it was a young Jim Bowen.
The compere was good as was the organist and drummer. Again it was for me; 'a-we-can-do-this-too' time. So I purposely wrote down the Keirons set list -not to copy it; the opposite in fact. If we were going to it, then we are doing our own stuff!
Our first audition was at the old Poolstock Labour Club in Wigan and latterly The Beer Engine. I didn't have a clue about music - reading-wise and in the dressing room the other act's were talking about coda's and three-tag ending's.. ..and what the hell is Sine to Sine? I felt very belittled as we had just bought sheet music never thinking that it wouldn't be remotely like the stuff put down on a record.
We struggled through the audition and the backing musicians actually did us proud and busked the wrong bits for us. It turned out that we had done okay and picked up quite a few booking's from that and.. they were paying us the same for Two Of Us as we got for our five piece group!
We realised early-doors that the new act would have to concentrate more on entertainment than anything we had ever done before. So we ordred new suits and bought two new Shaftersbury guitars. Mine was a beautiful twelve-string and I just loved it. It broke my heart when I got it stolen in St Helens Plaza Night Club.
Soon comedy was introduced firstly by myself with gag's and impressions then that department was soon to be taken over by Colin. It was immediatly apparent that Colin was far funnier than me and a born-to-be front man. The 'dots' were sorted out by lessons from Snowy who played organ at the King Of Clubs, Wigan when we did a week's cabaret there. I learned a lot from him.
'My mate Tommy'
In 1971 we played at the Mellieha Bay Hotel in Malta which is I suppose birthplace of the act that followed. The 'My mate Tommy' thing started around the same time as Cannon & Ball were doing the same thing. I still get people I meet saying 'Ow do Tom'.
Looking back at those times now, the Two Of Us was the best thing that could have happened to me. The dance halls had gone, the groups were struggling for work, so the work was in the Workingmens Clubs. So Workingmens clubs in the north west it was and we could work a regular five nights a week!
I had the honour of meeting and playing with hundreds of really talented people playing the club scene. Its so sad that hardly any are left now but a small few. Still, I have the memories.
Mitch Mitchinson: August 2010