ED2015 Columns ED2015 Comedy

Lloyd Griffith: I love cathedrals

By | Published on Saturday 1 August 2015

Lloyd Griffith

Lloyd Griffith wants you to know he’s performing every single night of the Fringe this year at the Pleasance Courtyard. But even more importantly than that, he wants you to know how great cathedrals are. Now, if you have seen Lloyd’s list of TV and radio credits – which include ‘Songs Of Praise’ and Radio 3’s ‘Choral Evensong’ amongst the comedy staples – this might not come as a surprise. But, as Lloyd will tell you, you don’t have to be in a choir to enjoy the great cathedrals of Britain.

When I was a young lad, all I ever wanted to do was play football for Grimsby Town FC; more specifically, play in goal for them. I suppose it was many a young boy’s dream to play for the team he idolised as a child.

When I was eight years old, I was in a football competition in Edinburgh where a number of cathedral choirs played each other in a tournament and had a big sing-along/evensong at the end. I remember very little about the football itself; there was snow at Meadowbank and two choirboys from Ripon and Edinburgh had a fight, which resulted in a bloody nose, but the thing I remember more than anything else was St Mary’s Cathedral. All of the other choirs there that day were cathedral choirs, meaning ours, from St James Grimsby, was the only one from a parish church (it was then the only parish church in the country to have it’s own choir school and one of only three in the world). As a result, I’d never even seen a cathedral before, let alone set foot in one.

It was huge and I was in awe. I just remember staring at this colossal space. The dark imposing stone. The huge red cross overhead. There was so much to take in and apparently I was ‘asking too many questions’ and should ‘just sing the music, laddy’. I knew from that day that I was going to have a weird thing for cathedrals and I wasn’t wrong.

I’ve been on dates over the years where girls have asked me what I like doing in my spare time. Sure, I throw out a few normal things first, like going on holidays with mates, watching football and listening to Simply Red, but then when I mention my love of cathedrals, it’s very much a rodeo; you see how long you can hold on to them for (not literally, I must add).

The thing is, cathedrals are bloody brilliant and I absolutely love them. Most people are aware of them of course, and could probably name you a handful off the top of their head, but there are actually 44 English Anglican cathedrals, eight Scottish Anglican cathedrals and I haven’t even touched the Catholic ones yet (no irony intended). Each cathedral is completely unique with their very own story to tell. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, or even if you’re religious at all, you should all head to a cathedral and absorb it’s history and just sit in it’s tranquil expanse.

As I’m still a choirboy I’ve been lucky enough to sing in quite a few of those cathedrals in my time (precisely 27 of them; hello girls!) and I’ve managed to build up quite an encyclopaedic knowledge of these stone fortresses. For example, did you know that Lincoln Cathedral was once the tallest building in the world? That Glasgow Cathedral is the only existing medieval cathedral on Scottish mainland? Or, for the Harry Potter fans out there, that Gloucester Cathedral’s cloisters was where much of Hogwarts was filmed?

So, why go to one of the 46 theme parks in the UK, when you can go to a glorious cathedral? Sure, with the former option you’ll get thrown about, throw up, eat generic beige food and purchase a regrettable key ring with your face on it for only £197, but how many theme parks have a mechanical hand from an organ loft built in 1695 to conduct a cathedral choir from the organ? None! Does Ripon Cathedral have one? Course it bloody does. Get thee to a Cathedral, and get there quick; you don’t know what you’re missing out on.

Lloyd Griffith: Great Grimsby’s Big Turn On, Pleasance Courtyard, from 5 until 30 Aug

LINKS: lloydgriffith.com