During the coronavirus social distancing ‘lockdown’, Mike Batt is streaming a weekly live session on Facebook and Instagram, every Wednesday at 9pm UK time.
“Just a casual thingy where I’ll sing some songs and have a chat,” he said on Facebook. “Hope you can join me.”
Mike performs for about an hour, taking requests and reading out live comments.
You don’t need an account to watch the sessions on Facebook, and if you miss the live stream you can catch up later.
You can also watch him on your television by installing the Facebook Watch TV app if you have a compatible device, including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV and Xbox One.
In the first event on 25 March, as well as playing several of his best-known hits and some rarities, Mike included a few Wombles songs: Madame Cholet, Nashville Wombles, Remember You’re A Womble and The Wombling Song.
In the second session on 1 April, he played Minuetto Allegretto and To Wimbledon With Love (dedicated to his friend, Bond film composer David Arnold), and his Wombles-like 1975 solo hit Summertime City.
In week 3 on 8 April, Mike played The Wombling Song and The Orinoco Kid. He also premiered some songs from the Reggie Perrin musical that he’s written with David Quantick and Jonathan Coe.
In week 4 on 15 April, Mike played Wombling In The Rain and The Wombles’ Warning. Among the audience watching the live broadcast was Andy Renton, who played drums in a school band with Mike called That Lady’s Twins, and joined him again as Bungo on Top Of The Pops in 1974. Mike also debuted his new song Welcome To Wormtown, composed using random words submitted by his fans, which he’s released as an iTunes download to raise money for NHS workers.
After skipping a week, Mike returned on 29 April, with a set including Banana Rock and Exercise Is Good For You (Laziness Is Not).
Mike is currently promoting his new album, The Penultimate Collection, and was due to perform at London’s Bush Hall on 4 May, but his concert had to be postponed. So he’s planning an extended 90-minute set from home on Monday 4 May at 9pm, instead of the usual Wednesday slot.
Mike has also generously made his storybook The Chronicles Of Don’t Be So Ridiculous Valley available to read free on Issuu during the lockdown period.