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Kite designer Dave on cloud nine with Tim Vine

Kings’ bass singer Dave Clarke had a surprise in store when he and daughter Lucy travelled into London from St Albans to watch the Tim Vine Chat Show at the Comedy Studio in Greenwich.

Unbeknownst to Dave, Lucy put his name forward for a chatty on-stage interview by the whacky jokester - and Dave was chosen! One of four from an audience in the hundreds!

Names were put forward of people with interesting occupations and Dave, first guest on, found himself revealed as a former kite designer.

Plenty for Tim Vine to make fun of there, but he didn’t get it all his own way. Dave had the audience laughing when he turned a joke or two back on his quick-witted host.

As you can find out by logging on to weblink

The half-hour show was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Maundy Thursday and repeated on Easter Monday. Chuckles all the way online - or you can tune into Dave’s excerpt after 5mins 50secs.

“Quite a shock to find myself on the stage with a great comedian - and a great memory for Lucy and me,” said Dave, a former semi-professional musician and composer as well as a kite manufacturer - and himself an enthusiastic joke collector and writer.

Tim Vine would have applauded this one from Dave: “My old fridge broke down. No worries!

I managed to get it taken away. Cool, calm and collected!”

And this one: “I get nervous in front of McDonald’s staff. They give me the shakes!”

But enough of that. Dave’s career as a kite manufacturer began in 1980 and lasted 26 years. He employed several people to help with machining and assembly. In that time, he reckons he sold thousands of kites of traditional shape and size but his own creations included a large design called Clarke’s Crystal, (pictured) with a diamond-like appearance, constructed with 12 panels, 2ft square, and joined together diagonally. He also made several bird and bat kites including a very realistic Kestrel design, screen printed to detail the plumage. Such originality created a considerable reputation and in 2000 Dave sold a number of designs to German company With Flying Colours and also had considerable impact in worldwide markets by licensing designs to German and American kite manufacturers.

He started his singing career at school and formed his first band in 1961. Several line-ups followed and in 1972 his vocal quartet, The Music Room, had a couple of singles released through Decca records. In addition to singing with the Kings, Dave appeared in a quartet in the St Albans Music Theatre Company’s pre-pandemic performance of My Fair Lady.

He sings at charity events with another of his three daughters, Maddy, under the name Two’s Company, and also does solo performances at social clubs.

Dave’s interview on the Time Vine show was the second national media appearance for a Kings’ member in the past six months. Last October chairman Mike Rose and his son Sam were trophy winners on BBC TV’s Pointless quiz show, only narrowly missing winning a cash prize of £8,750. See the story in our earlier blog. Like Mike, Dave has also appeared on a memorable TV quiz programme - Eggheads, chaired by Dermot Murnaghan, in 2007. Dave’s team, a group of friends entitled The Herts Has Beens, narrowly missed out on a record-setting cash prize of £70,000, which would have meant £14,000 each! Dave couldn’t fight it out in the final - sadly admitting to a knockout in his head-to-head confrontation.

If you are a Tim Vine fan, he has been booked to appear at the St Albans Arena on July 6 (re-scheduled from April 11), in a show entitled Tim Vine is Plastic Elvis - not a stand-up comedy show, apparently, but still a sell-out success at last year’s Edinburgh Festival.

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